Madison Artists Guild Gallery hosts a special artist reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday in conjunction with the opening of ‘Freaks of Nature,’ an imaginative body of work by Elizabeth Collins Hanes that merges the natural world and the creative mind to produce unique sculptural artwork.

Showcased in this exhibition is full-throttled imagination, a love of collecting, and an appreciation for the beauty of the natural world. In a departure from her conventional talent, pottery, Hanes presents personal treasures collected over the years – wasp cells, Ginko leaves, crab claws, star fish, dove and woodpecker feathers, Jekyll island beach clay, bones and more – that have been transformed into personalities carrying names such as “Prickly Smoocher,” “Sea Bebe,” “Pine Paladin,” “Leaping Dancer” and “Spreading Warmth.”

Artfully displayed in shadow boxes, the anthropomorphic figures of “Freaks of Nature” beckon the viewer into their imaginary world for a closer look at the minute details of their unique construction.

In her artist statement, Hanes states, “I have always been a collector of interesting things and am so grateful that my mom taught me to see the beauty in a bit of lush moss, a gnarled stick, a delicate deer vertebrae, even a twisted wire.”

During this past year of COVID and festival shutdowns – an economic mainstay of many working artists – Hanes was left uninspired and struggled to create fresh work that felt inspired. Inspiration returned when she incorporated her collected bits of nature into a cohesive body of work.

“The treasures that I use conjure up memories of places visited and people I met along the way, but mostly they remind me that I also am just a tiny piece of this complex earth and that I belong to something much larger.”

“Freaks of Nature” will be on display through May 29. MAGallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. MAGallery is located at 125 W. Jefferson Street in Madison. For more information, visit

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