Artwork of the Week: The Animalier

James Doran-Webb /

When James Doran-Webb was a child, his parents travelled the world in search of antiques. Often by their side, he quickly developed a passion for finding unseen value where others couldn’t. This passion took him beyond trinkets and baubles, and into a world of the forgotten; of driftwood and discarded materials in which he saw great promise.

That promise has taken form in some of the most complex, visceral animal sculptures the world has ever seen.

James Doran-Webb /

Through dead, inanimate material, James creates life not just by recreating to-scale models of animals, but by honouring the intricacies of their form by rendering them in motion.

The process starts with James sifting through his collection of driftwood – a collection formed over 20 years – and mountain of metal rubbish for inspiration. He then creatures a miniature (but no less astounding) version of the design, before setting to work on the metal framework and overlying timber.

In total, each piece will take over 2000 hours to complete, with only James and a handful of assistants capable of putting it all together.

James Doran-Webb /

James works mostly with handheld tools in his 1000 square metre workshop in the Philippines, a country he fell in love with at first sight.

In the 28 years since arriving in the Philippines, James has set up a number of social initiatives including 80,000 Trees, which works to restore devastated timberland in Cebu, and Bantayan Crafts, an enterprise designed to support women of Bantayan Island after it was severely damaged by a typhoon. Those involved create items out of natural materials (including debris found in the typhoon’s wake) that are sold in stores, with all profits returning to the community.

For more on James Doran-Webb’s creations, check out the video below, or visit

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