My work’s foundation is based on the long tradition of carved bird decoys. An intense passion for these exquisitely sculpted birds was the catalyst for my becoming an artist as I find solace in their beauty. Their graceful flight elicits wonder and their sometime funny antics bring smiles of joy and laughter. During my difficult times they conveyed messages of hope. Key to capturing each bird’s personality is in-depth research. This involves observing birds in their natural habitat, referencing bird guides, studying photographs, and examining taxidermy specimens. I bring forth the essence of each bird through realistic, iconic, or stylized forms. My favorite point in sculpting is when the subject emerges and the sculpture ceases to be just wood, stone or metal and becomes “alive”.

© 2017 by Debra Zelenak. Proudly created with


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