Daughter of a bargee father, Pétra Werlé was born in 1956 in Strasbourg and spent her childhood between Basel and Rotterdam on the family boat. After practising some casual jobs, she began sculpting her first figures when she was 20 years old. Pétra took then a passion to this peculiar art. She devoted herself entirely to it and settled near Paris in 1997.
If her whole work has for main material bred, she offers herself nevertheless a bracket with "Histoire(s) naturelle(s) and "De la nature des choses", made also with natural elements as butterflies, scarabs, feathers of birds, shells, dried flowers and mosses.
Since 2010, she continues fervently an passionately creating only with bread to let people see new worlds.


The sculptress Pétra Werlé has exhibited her art in museums and galleries all over France and particularly in Paris where she has taken up her quarters. That she was born in Alsace on the river Rhine is not trivial, considering that she spent a dreamy childhood on a barge with her father, a mariner, plying between Basel and Rotterdam –a historic, cultural and mythical passageway if there is one.

Breadcrumbs were the stuff of her early compositions staging scenes of revelry and mirth in which burlesque creatures in amorous pursuit engaged in all sorts of acrobatic high jinks set in sober black boxes or under bell jars. Pétra has since embarked on a new creative venture: one which is truly unique, yet reminiscent of Kabuki, Haute-Couture catwalks, Mardi Gras, baroque drama. These sculptures of demure damsels and dapper dandies in ceremonial finery tell stories of love and lust, wonder and merriment, freedom and ritual, innocence and mischief...

Bread she now uses only to mould, ever so delicately, faces and limbs. Her elfins and coy ballerinas on parade are fashioned from a motley array of shells, moss, osprey feathers, body parts of butterflies, scarab beetles, larkspur moths, spider cocoons, diaphanous wings of iridescent bugs. Pétra’s fantastical characters, displayed in crystalline cases, are dressed up to the nines with bits and pieces scavenged at the entomologist’s, the florist’s, at flea markets, in meadows and forests, or even …from left-overs of sea-food dinners!

Pétra Werlé, the ferry-woman, transports us back into forgotten, yet familiar, territory -all too often hidden from our eyes and memory by the vulgarity of the times and the banality of human condition. The little people embodying the airy spirits of fairy tales and adult fantasies are a reflection of the paradox of the artist’s approach to her craft: a vibrant combination of tenderness and cynicism. “They are not my inventions;” says she, ”it is they who have chosen me as their medium in order to express a universal message.”