A few years ago, Czech Republic graphic designer Petr Václavek started creating whimsical figures from autumn nuts and twigs he and his kids collected near their home outside Prague. A way to keep himself and his kids entertained, they discovered that materials were like Nature’s Legos. Initially they tried creating animals using skewers, but it was the discovery of a glue gun that allowed the figures made of acorns, nuts and twigs to come to life. Over time the creations have become more sophisticated, often with accompanying stories captured in Václavek’s photos.

He calls the figures Dubanci – translated as Acorn Elves in English – and displays them on his delightful website. With the help of social media, many have gone viral.

On the one page of Václavek’s website that’s in English the artist explains that, “Over time, I have improved the figures and their photography. …I then started to share them on social networks, where they had great success. Photos of the toilet acorn elf probably flew around the entire internet world. …After the end of the season, I was not able to say goodbye to these little creatures and I continued to produce them the entire winter and spring (luckily the kids had collected a large supply of material in the autumn). And so, the entertainment for kids became an entertainment for dad.”

The English-language page explains how one can purchase items with the acorn elves such as puzzles, postcards, a calendar and t-shirts.


About the author

Rebecca Wallick

Rebecca is a freelance writer and publisher living near McCall, Idaho. A Seattle native and recovering attorney, she much prefers the quiet, slow pace, and distinct seasons of the West Central Mountains, enjoying the skiing, hiking and running opportunities provided by the nearby Payette National Forest. Rebecca is a Contributing Editor with Bark magazine, and the author of Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot’s Daughter (Feb 2014).

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