Artist Spotlight: Hilde DeBruyne

One look at Hilde DeBruyne’s sculptures sweeps you into an outdoor oasis. Her work transports you from an art gallery into the natural, beautiful world of a wood or meadow. This is precisely Hilde’s goal:

“I especially love the texture element in nature: the tree bark, weathered surfaces, driftwood, the pattern in leaves and wings…It reflects in my work in the added “texture”, as if leaving my marks and traces, and telling a story, history or memory.”

More than that, the juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity in nature inspires Hilde’s sculptures. She cites the Wabi-Sabi element as another level of inspiration. This is a Japanese aesthetic that places value on imperfection. For example, a weathered structure or decaying tree.

It comes as no surprise Hilde chose art as her life passion. She grew up in a family of artists and joined her father’s sculpture classes during her teen years. She remembers her childhood home encapsulating various art pieces representing cultural diversity, from Buddha figures to remnants from Christian buildings.

Hilde’s broad portfolio of work includes sculptures in private and public collections, including various public pieces around the Des Moines area. Included in this distinguished list is “Heart Beat,” a clay sculpture at Mercy Medical Center; “The Birth Place of Des Moines,” a porcelain tile mural in Principal Park; “Tree of Life”, a permanent public art installation at Sesquicentennial Park in Indianola; and “Circle of Life” a permanent installation at City Hall in West Des Moines.


Hilde, born in Belgium, was sought out by Mary Kline-Misol, one of the Founding Mothers of Artisan Gallery 218. Hilde recognized the unique opportunity to showcase her work along with other regional artists. Moreover, she recognized Valley Junction as a relic of her roots:

“It reminds me of the small European shops with their own unique character, feel and individuality. You enter a shop and are welcomed by a person who really cares about their shop…what makes 218 unique is that visitors can talk to the artists and hear about their creative journey. It adds so much more personality and meaning.”

When asked if she had a favorite piece, Hilde lamented that was like choosing who her favorite child is:

“They are all my favorite, especially while in the process of making them…It takes a while to detach from a sculpture. It can be hard to see it go.”

Stop in Artisan Gallery 218 to see a variety of Hilde’s work. You may also see her portfolio at and on her Facebook page.