For this month, Winnipeg River Arts Council features wood carver Alexa Hoerster, who is originally from Germany. Along with her partner, Walter Keller, another well-known local carver, she makes her home in Elma, and has lived in Canada for the past sixteen years. She credits Keller with initially teaching her how to carve, but, she added, “With time, I developed my own style.”
Although Hoerster has not done any formal instructing, her carvings have attracted attention and awards. In the spring of 2016, her piece, “Driftwood Disc,” was one of the final three shortlisted designs in Trails Manitoba’s competition for the Grand Beach Gateway. The entire piece was supposed to be assembled out of driftwood from the area carved into the desired figures, and then attached on a big weathered steel wheel.
In the 2021 Eastman Juried Art exhibition, her intricately carved oak door won first place in the sculpture category. The piece, called, “Towering Pine,” was created because her client wanted to see an interpretation of a special white pine, located in his view over the lake.
Hoerster states that Mother Nature, with all her intricacies, has always been most important for her as a human and an artist, and affirms that “Being outdoors in natural surroundings is the only place where I ever feel free and alive.”
This intense love of nature finds plenty of expression in her artistic work. Her carvings of birds, wolves, and other flora and fauna reflect her reverence for all things wild. It’s one of her main goals as an artist to bring positive feelings and an understanding of wilderness creatures to the people who purchase her work.
She said, “I find that the design as well as the execution is a challenge for every single piece, but also a difficult and endless quest trying to capture the beauty, harmony, and delicate perfection of the natural world. And I hope this helps a tiny bit to protect nature with all its beings, to suffer a little bit less.”