top of page

ARTIST'S JOURNAL

Search

I Took a Twisted Tree and Turned it into a Swimming Otter Sculpture


Wood sculpture of a swimming otter carved from a twisted tree. By Saskatchewan, Canadian artist Michelle Thevenot. Rock base. Suspended by metal post.
"Swimming Otter" sculpture by Michelle Thevenot

Let me tell you about my “Swimming Otter” sculpture…




🌲 While hiking in the woods, I noticed an unusual growth on a dead standing tree.

It looked like another tree fell onto it and snapped the top of the tree downwards.


Ooof… I felt that… life sometimes swings a big ol’ bat at you when least expected. WHAMMO! 💥 And a blow like that breaks you… knocks you down. 😓


Maybe you’re thinking of a time in your own life when you felt that way…


So you’ll relate to this tree.


💪🏻 This brave, determined tree… even though it was dealt a blow, it didn’t give up… not yet…

It stubbornly continued to grow… grow from that place of brokenness and pain. It wasn’t perfect or pretty with the fissures and cracks of trauma still visible…


↩️But somehow, this tree turned things around. It turned its energy back toward the light, sending energy to heal the scars, sending energy towards growing. It grew in a way that literally came full-circle and turned things around.


Wood sculpture of a swimming otter carved from a twisted tree. By Saskatchewan, Canadian artist Michelle Thevenot. Rock base. Suspended by metal post.
"Swimming Otter" sculpture by Michelle Thevenot

🌀 And the most incredible, beautiful, and rare thing happened. Growing through that brokenness and pain created the most intriguing and inspiring thing.


It kept on going… I heard Dori’s voice (from Finding Nemo) “Just keep swimming… just keep swimming.”

For me, I saw this incredibly rare and interesting tree that grew in a loop. I saw the hole in the middle of it which was a sign of pain, hope, and the space created to allow recovery.


❤️‍🩹I also saw the deeper meaning in it. A story of pain, growth, suffering, broken down… but also a story of healing, growth, and transformation into something even more special and beautiful than before. Perfectly imperfect.



The tree lived on for many years and grew into this spiral that told a story of what it had been through. At the end of it