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Editor's Picks

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Roderick Cameron | Oct 21, 2023
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An account of the Tour guided by Sean Hogan
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Plant Focus

A small but mature Alabama sandstone oak producing acorns © Patrick Thompson
A Critically Endangered dwarf oak 

Dubánci: Acorn Elves with a Wicked Sense of Humor


Czech artist Petr Václavek has created a fantasy world inhabited by little creatures made from acorns and oak twigs. He calls them Dubánci (du-bon-chee), which means “Acorn Elves”. It all started when with his family he moved to a small house near a forest, and they would bring home from their walks stuff they picked up in the forest. They tried to make animals with the nuts and twigs using skewers, but their creations soon fell apart. Then they started using a hot glue gun, which worked a lot better, and they were able to create elves using the plentiful acorns at their disposal. Over time, Petr improved the figures and the photographs he took of them. The images enjoyed success on social media, especially the photo of the acorn figure on the toilet. A wall calendar created with the photos was also popular. So what started as entertainment for the kids became entertainment for the father.

Acorn elf on toilet

As a child, Petr learnt woodworking in his father’s workshop in a small town in Czech Republic. Later he studied software engineering in Prague and became a programmer and web designer. When the first digital cameras came out he was entranced by their potential, and soon he became a freelance graphic designer. He applies all this experience when editing the photos of his Acorn Elves.

Icarus acorn elf

The Dubánci have become a multimedia project, involving books, postcards, T-shirts, playing cards, puzzles, and calendars. There is even an animated film in the works. That hasn’t stopped him from producing new scenes. “You can look forward to a continuous flood of new funny photos with Acorn Elves,” he says, “because, after seven years, I still enjoy this project as much as when I started!"

Artist and acorn elf

Scroll down for some more of Petr Václavek’s Dubánci, or visit www.dubanci.cz to explore his gallery.