Earth Art: 15 Inspiring Works that Celebrate Nature

Leaves, driftwood, pine cones, dandelions and moss take the place of paper, paint and other manufactured materials in these incredible works of art. From delicate carvings to three-story towers, these nature-inspired sculptures, prints and installations celebrate the beauty and importance of our natural surroundings.

Driftwood Sculptures by Heather Jansch

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Sculptor Heather Jansch has used the rounded texture and shapes of gathered driftwood to craft incredible life-sized horse sculptures that perfectly capture the movement and anatomy of the animals. An individual horse can take up to three years to produce. Jansch uses a steel frame covered in glass fiber to enable the sculptures to stand up to strong winds.

Intricate Carved Leaves by Lorenzo Duran

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Lorenzo Duran studied the paper cutting techniques used in Asia and began experimenting on leaves, identifying the species which were the easiest to work with, like maple. Calling his craft Naturayarte, Duran explains that he washes and dries the leaves, places them into a press, sketches out his designs and then tapes the drawings to the flattened leaves to use them as a template for cutting.

2,000 Dandelions Dangling by Regine Ramseier

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Try picking a dandelion when it’s in full fluff and you’ll quickly find that keeping it together is nearly impossible. That’s what makes Regine Ramseier’s incredible exhibit at the ArToll Gallery in Germany so impressive. The artist sprayed each dandelion with a little bit of adhesive to keep it together before loading them all into a specially-made crate for transport to the gallery.

Moss Graffiti by Anna Garforth

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Poetry is spelled out on urban surfaces in the most unexpected material: moss. Artist Anna Garforth uses live moss to beautify urban spaces with the written word, lovely typography and the vitality of nature. The letters are attached with biodegradable ingredients.

Tree Prints Capture the Years by Bryan Nash Gill

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Artist Bryan Nash Gill captures prints of trees that are as unique as human fingerprints. Selecting visually interesting pieces from lumber yards and other sources, Gill rolls ink onto the cut surfaces of the trees and then lays down sheets of handmade washi paper. To be sure that as much fine detail as possible is transferred to the paper, Gill laboriously rubs the surface with his fingertips and fingernails.

Amazing Driftwood Art by Paul Baliker

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“Think of this sculpture as a clock,” says artist Paul Baliker. “Within one 24 hr revolution somewhere between 3 and 270 species are erased from existence. Pollution, habitat loss, global warming, and just plain insensitivity to our position at the top of the food chain are causing irreversible damage to our planet.” Baliker’s incredible, thoughtful driftwood sculpture incorporates dozens of endangered species including birds, starfish, eels, crocodiles, hippos, owls, monkeys and wolves. See more at the artist’s website.

Temporary Land Art by Walter Mason

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Walter Mason crafts leaves and other natural materials into temporary organic art, capturing his work in photographs before it blows away or biodegrades. “Everything I do is an experiment. If the picture I make is good or not is of little importance in comparison to what I have learned. If the experiment ‘works’ I have the feeling of arrival, of completion, I am finished with the idea. If it doesn’t work I often learn far more; it makes me think about why I failed, and often gives me dozens of new ideas.”

Dialogue with Ground by Angus Taylor

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Compressed earth, rocks, grass and metals are transformed into stunning large-scale heads and figures by South African artist Angus Taylor. This particular figure is located on the grass at the Botanical Gardens in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Earthworks by Richard Long

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From WebEcoist: “For Richard Long the art of working with nature is almost always about the journey. He describes some of his works as walks themselves, and other works as sculptures made along his way. In many cases he appropriates natural materials to create new configurations, designs and patterns from them. In others he further splits these geometries in a return to more naturalistic forms. His work is perhaps best described as singular and monumental – it uses density and repetition to drive home simple but profound aesthetic experiences in time and space.”

Jonna Pohjalainen Turns Downed Trees into Colored Pencils

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Effectively making us humans feel like the tiny creatures that we really are, these sculptures by Finnish artist Jonna Pohjalainen transform thin, straight aspen trunks into huge colored pencils. The works were exhibited at the Open Air Museum in Latvia.

Timber Wave Installation at the London Design Festival

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An amazing three-story-tall latticework timber sculpture greeted guests at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London during the 2011 London Design Festival. Designed by architects AL_A and engineering firm Arup, the sculpture gave the stone building a more organic feel, if just for a week.

Column of Pine Cones by Ivan Juarez

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Mexican architect Ivan Juarez built this towering column of pine cones for the Nordic Artist’s Center on the west coast of Norway. Juarez collected the pine cones from the forest on the center’s grounds and stacked them to create the temporary pavilion, which was ultimately returned to the earth to sprout more pine trees.

Recycled Wood Gallery Installation by Henrique Oliveira

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Twisting around columns, invading the upstairs and bursting through a wall, this recycled wood installation by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira resembles a monstrous vine worthy of a B-movie. The sculpture is actually made of weathered plywood from Oliveira’s city of Sao Paulo, using slivers of the wood to create brushstroke-like textures on his curving, amorphous forms.

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