West Loop sculptor creates artwork from nature

When old branches fall off a tree most people toss them out or throw them in the wood chipper. One local sculptor has found a way to give those old, dead branches new life.
October 29, 2010 5:02:02 PM PDT
When old branches fall off a tree most people toss them out or throw them in the wood chipper. One local sculptor has found a way to give those old, dead branches new life.

"I sculpt pieces that are made of big pieces of wood and stones and boulders and they're all abstract pieces," said Chicago artist Jeffrey Breslow.

After 41 years in the business world, Breslow is combining a hobby that dates back to his college years with his life-long passion for nature.

"I've done pieces with birch, and locust and hawthorne wood and tamarask, so I do use other types of wood, but I am in love with maple," said Breslow.

Breslow never cuts living trees but does hunt for interesting branches to use as his base, including ones with knots, twists and other unusual characteristics.

"There's an advantage to the environment of not cutting living trees," said Breslow. "There's also an advantage for me as a sculptor to work with a tree that has already died. If it started to dry out, the bark comes off much easier."

He matches the trees together with a variety of stones including granite, quartz and sandstone.

"I like using materials that you find out in nature. I really put things together. I only carve the wood a little bit where it might fit against the stone. I'm not redesigning the piece of wood. Nature's taken care of that already," Breslow said.

With each new sculpture Breslow tries to add a new element. Some have motion and one of his recent pieces uses water.

"The work is whimsical and people look at the stuff and smile and that's the reaction I look for," said Breslow.

The public can see Jeffrey Breslow creating his artwork in person at his studio on the Near West Side, 1015 W. Fulton Market, Chicago. Go to Breslow's website at jeffreybreslow.com for more details.


Load Comments