This Artist Designs Stunning Portraits of Birds from Foraged Materials

Turning acorns into artwork

(godi photo /

Nature’s beauty is all around you. Wildflowers glisten in bright blues, yellows and reds. Trees, with unique shaped branches, twigs, and leaves, decorate the horizon. Under your feet, pine needles, acorns, leaves, and grass adorn and endow their natural beauty on the earth’s surface. But how many of you take the time to notice all of nature’s wonders?

Hannah Bullen-Ryner is an artist who not only takes the time to “smell the roses,” but she uses them as a medium to craft stunning portraits of birds.  

Art as therapy
Bullen-Ryner, a photographer by trade, began her artistic hobby shortly after her twin daughters were born, Awesome Inventions reports. The young mother suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. Seeking a solution, she turned to nature’s calming spirit.

Bullen-Ryner started spending time alone in the woods, foraging for materials: flowers, twigs, leaves, and grass. On an impulse, she started forming a portrait of a bird with the items she had gathered. When her picture was finished, Bullen-Ryner realized that she felt calm and hopeful. The process had been healing and therapeutic. 

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A post shared by Hannah Bullen-Ryner Art (@hannahbullenrynerart)

Bullen-Ryner tells My Modern Met, “Finding the medium of land art has allowed my art and my connection to the earth my soul so needed to combine,” she tells My Modern Met. “As a full-time mama of (nearly) three-year-old twin girls, and someone who suffers from anxiety, my art is my quiet time, my peace.”

Gone with the wind
When Bullen-Ryner creates her artwork on the forest floor, she never uses glues or any other material to bond the foraged items, according to My Modern Met. This means that a single breeze is able to carry away or scatter her portrait. 

“People often ask me why don't I make something more permanent or they say it's such a shame that it's temporary,” Buller-Ryner explains. 

“But for me,” she continues, “it is the ephemeral nature of what I do that has become like therapy for my soul. I get to put down all my anxieties, my fears, all the chaos from my brain and turn it into something beautiful to honor Mother Nature. I take some photos and then walk or cycle away, leaving it all behind and feeling calmer, more connected, and truly lighter.”

Art from nature
Bullen-Ryner isn’t the only artist that utilizes nature's free gifts, foraged from the forest floor, to form stunning portraits. This is Colossal shares the story of Japanese artist, Raku Inoue. Inoue uses flower petals and leaves to form pictures of insects and plants. 

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Inoue’s most recent portfolio, Jurassic Nature, saw the artist mold unique dinosaur portraits from foraged materials, including a brontosaurus with a dandelion head.

The transitioning of everyday natural materials into art pieces is a captivating process. The detail and multitude of colors that these artists successfully create with twigs, leaves, flowers, and grasses is breath-taking. The end result of nature’s elements being carefully curated and assembled is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. There is so much to be learned from foraged art; don’t let nature’s hidden beauty pass you by.

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