Veruschka de la Haye is a Jersey-born artist who creates pebble art pieces using pebbles sourced from local Jersey beaches and other natural material such as bark, feather and twigs. Here Veruschka tells us all about her 'lockdown journey' and explains how her pebble art is made and the creative process behind it.
I was born in Jersey and have worked with computers for the majority of my working life. When I gave up work, I dabbled with various arts and crafts, tried to revive my calligraphy from many years ago and also attended various acrylic and watercolour classes.
It took a while to decide on one particular medium, but when I saw some work in Pebble Art by a Russian artist, I was excited by what could be achieved. It seemed to bring together many things I enjoyed doing; creating and using my imagination, constructing and painting, combined with outdoor activities such as walking in the lanes, cliff paths or on the beach. It is here that I find the most unusual pebbles, which are often difficult to source elsewhere. I started to experiment with various ideas, using pebbles from the beach (I have a licence) or from craft and DIY shops. I then began to use pieces of bark, feathers and various twigs that I came across.
It was extremely relaxing but I realised that I was spending so much time creating pieces, that I needed to do something with them, not just give them as presents to family and friends! I read about Made in Jersey in the Bailiwick Express in 2020. It seemed to be a great idea to produce Jersey products for people to buy locally, especially when the Jersey shops were closed. It is good that there are no postage costs for the buyer and they receive their packages promptly and efficiently. I spoke to Carla who was very helpful and I realised that this would give me the impetus and confidence to keep on creating purposefully!
St Ouen’s beach is one of my favourite places and one can’t help but be fond of La Rocco Tower in the background. This picture is made with pebbles from the beach with the feet being crab and lobster shells I’ve collected. It was created because of my love of puffins and is perfect for a new arrival or a family of four.
As puffins are a particular love of mine, I began by creating family puffins and puffins in various situations. I then progressed on to special occasions such as family birthdays, Mothering Sunday, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Engagement, Marriage, New Home, New Baby, Christmas etc.
Each piece I create is unique. I am often asked to create something that I have already made. I photograph each piece, so I can try to create it again. It won’t be exactly the same, as most pebbles are different, but I can create something as close as possible to the original.
Inspired by a friend’s dog. It is made with twigs collected from the lanes in Trinity and pebbles from Grouville.
It can also be more interesting to be challenged by something new. Sometimes people ask me to create something special for a particular person, such as a balloonist, a farmer, a cycling fanatic or cat or dog lover. Before starting a new idea or request, I investigate the subject by looking at lots of photos, either online or from a personal photo. Once I am happy, I get started by looking for the appropriate shapes. If paint is required, I use acrylic. All my stones are washed, dried and polished whether I am painting them or not. If I can use the natural colour of the stone, I will. I use various types of strong glue, depending on the shape and type of stone and the type of paper or card being used. I can add text to most pictures which may be in the form of a short anecdote, poem, saying or simply a name and date.
Working from home I have taken over a small room. Here I create and store my pieces, continually stepping over boxes of frames, card, paper, boxes, twigs and feathers! It’s like stepping into another world and I get completely lost when working. I can also create cards, but these are mainly to go with presents as personalised gift tags. On these I need to use small stones and as with my more intricate pieces, I need different types of tweezers to move things into position. I work with different frame sizes and on wood, although I am also experimenting with other eco-friendlier surfaces, which otherwise would find themselves in a tip!
Love – 2 Robins With Balloons and Flowers Pebble Art
This is made with twigs from Jardin d’Olivet, 2 large DIY shop pebbles, with the two small ones from a south coast Jersey beach. Perfect for a happy occasion concerning two people. Dried flowers were saved from a bouquet.
Perfect for the golfer in the family or a friend. This one even includes a cocktail stick, before I started collecting twigs from the lanes.
Couple sitting in the Lavender Pebble Art
Recreated from one I made for an engaged couple. The lavender is from the Jersey Lavender Farm.
Houses in the Woodland Pebble Art
Twigs and some gravel from my garden. Perfect for a ‘New Home’ present.