Deer sculpture by Ellen Jewett (Photos: Ellen Jewett)

The raw spirit of wild animals is merged with the delicate whimsy of plants in these hand-modeled surrealist sculptures by Canadian artist Ellen Jewett.

"Within this ethereal menagerie, anthrozoology meets psychoanalysis as themes of natural beauty, curiosity, colonialism, domestication, death, growth, visibility and wildness are explored," Jewett writes on her website.

Surreal animal sculptures: Octopus

Her eye-opening art aside, one of the most interesting things about Jewett is that as a committed environmentalist, she tries to avoid using materials that have known toxic properties. This excludes many conventional clays, glazes, paints and finishes that are commercially available, so she gets extra creative when gathering her supplies. This resourcefulness plays a major role in the overall look and feel of her work.

"Each sculpture is constructed using an additive technique, layered from inside to out by an accumulation of innumerable tiny components," Jewett explains. "Many of these components are microcosmic representations of plants, animals and objects. Some are beautiful, some are grotesque and some are fantastical."

Continue below to see more of these surreal animal sculptures, and be sure to visit Jewett's website to see all of her work.

Surreal animal sculptures: Elephant

Surreal animal sculptures: Tortoise

Surreal animal sculptures: Boar

Surreal animal sculptures: Koi

Surreal animal sculptures: Lybica

Surreal animal sculptures: Petal deer

Surreal animal sculptures: Corvid

Surreal animal sculptures: Octopus

Surreal animal sculptures: Mechafox

Surreal animal sculptures: Rabbits

Surreal animal sculptures: Clever

Surreal animal sculptures: Rats

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Flora and fauna coalesce in surrealist sculptures
Explore the whimsical work of artist Ellen Jewett, who hand-builds mesmerizing sculptures of plant-animal hybrids.