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Canadian sculptor Ellen Jewett is a talented artist who creates beautifully haunting and unbelievably realistic clay sculptures of creatures that you might expect to encounter in your dreams, or perhaps nightmares. Handcrafted using an additive technique, each sculpture is layered from the inside out with a accretion of tiny components, most of which are microcosmic representations of plants, animals and man-made objects. Each sculpture as a whole is a sum of the small narrative components that adorn it, some of which are beautiful, some grotesque, and some too fantastical for words.

Born in Markham Ontario and raised among newts and snails, Ellen became fascinated by natural forms. She draws her inspiration “from animal physiology and a love of the fantastic, grotesque and absurd. Each sculpture is handmade and painted with no more tools than fingers and a paint brush. The process begins with a handmade metal armature over which light weight clay is sculpted. The painting is executed with acrylic, mineral and oil pigments and the embedded eyes are glass. When complete the whole piece is glazed to intensify colour and strength.”

Most notably, Ellen creates her bizarre and bewildering creatures without the use of toxic materials. “This, unavoidably, excludes most of what is commonly commercially available, and has sent me on a journey of unique material combination and invention.”

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