Diem Chau’s “A-Z: Northwest Natives” Crayon Sculptures

I’m always impressed with creatives who look at an everyday object and can see how they can change that object to make something entirely different. Often, it’s something so neat and enticing, you wish you’d done it yourself.  Diem Chau’s “A-Z: Northwest Natives” crayon sculptures are an example of taking ordinary objects – crayons – and making them mean so much more. These crayon carvings are colorful and incredibly detailed – and a great tribute to the species that live in the Pacific Northwest.


“Northwest Natives Alphabet Set: A-G” by Diem Chau

Chau created the “Northwest Natives Alphabet Set” based upon animals and plants that are native to the Pacific Northwest. Each letter is accompanied by a carved crayon that embodies the species. For example, the “K” stands for killer whale and the black crayon that accompanies it is a killer whale. Chau also includes insights into her process on her blog as well as the scientific name (Orcinus orca in this case) and common name (Killer Whale, Orca Whale, Orca). The care in which each letter and subject is given is what makes this such an impressive project.

"K is for Killer Whale"

“K is for Killer Whale”

"D is for Dogwood"

“D is for Dogwood”

Chau’s work is currently featured at the G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle, so be sure to catch it by October 5. She went into detail for HOW about her project:

I’ve always loved botany and biology, I think if I hadn’t been an artist I would be a biologist or botanist. I live and work in Seattle, but I’ve shown all around the world.  It has been a few years since I had a show back in Seattle. I wanted to make a series of work that highlighted the region the I love so much, so I made an alphabet set based on (Pacific) Northwest Natives.

Details on the "Dogwood" crayon

Details on the “Dogwood” crayon


Chau also explained how the audience ha reacted so far to her exhibition and project:

I really think my crayon carvings resonate with people because the Crayola crayon is such a recognizable object.  I jokingly say it’s my “Campbell Soup”, à la  Warhol.  I also think the vibrancy and scale draws people in, I get a lot of delighted looks from viewers.

crayons 8

“Northern Spotted Owl” – 360 View


international design competitions


Show off the work from your neck of the woods, and enter the HOW International Design Awards, which recognizes outstanding work from around the world. The competition closes on September 16, so enter today!