About Venus Silvae

"Ladies of the Forest"

  Venus Silvae began as a series of hand-carved ceramic orchid vessels by American Artist Kathleen Petitjean. “Orchids have a special relationship with trees in their native habitat, adorning their boughs like corsages,” observes Kathleen, who has added other beautiful, functional sculptures to her Venus Silvae series. “I see the human female form in trees everywhere and hope my sculptures awaken others to the graceful poetry of trees.

Original Sculptures

  Kathleen’s original, functional sculptures are on display in museums, gift shops and galleries and have garnered numerous awards, including “Best in Show/Art” by the American Orchid Society. 


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Beautiful, Functional and Unique

Call forth new visions of nature in these “Ladies of the Forest.”     

ArtSlam Art Competition

About Kathleen

Artist Footsteps

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"Inspired to share my creativity from an early age, I first took a crayon to my nursery’s ceiling at the tender age of three. I have been drawing, painting and sculpting ever since, with a special fondness for the beauty of trees. Trees, for as long as I can remember, have offered to me glimpses of the female form. Could I somehow impart these visions to my art? The answer came one day while searching for a planter worthy of one of my prized orchids. I realized I could sculpt my mysterious tree-nymphs into a work of functional art designed for orchids.  


The figures on Venus Silvae (Venus of the Woods) vessels complement the sensual allure of orchid blooms while providing the unique growing environment an orchid plant loves. In their native habitat, many orchids cling like delicate corsages on tree boughs, thriving on the humid air provided by the tree’s leafy canopy.  Venus Silvae’s humidity trays, paired with the multiple openings around the orchid vessels, allow moist air to circulate around the plant’s roots with excellent results. In addition to my own happy orchid plants, Venus Silvae orchid vessels have been well-received by art-lovers, florists and orchid growers and aficionados, including the American Orchid Society, from whom  they garnered several awards, including Best in Class.


  I have added other beautiful, functional sculptures to my Venus Silvae collection, including a “Vanda” orchid chalice and a wall sconce. All of these vessels offer expanded functionality as holders for floral arrangements and candles, with many more designs to come. I take great joy in sharing my Venus Silvae figures and hope my sculptures awaken others to the graceful poetry of trees."  

Shows, Awards, Features

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  • "Midsummer Dream: Art and Whimsy in Nature" featured artist, Arts on Main, Elkhart, IN, July-August 2019
  • Friend of the Museum "ArtSlam" Artist, South Bend Museum of Art, Voting begins October 4, ArtLights Gala, October 17th
  • Michiana Annual Art Competition Juried Art Exhibition, June 7- July 13 2019 Box Factory for the Arts, St Joseph, MI 
  • Illinois Orchid Society, Spring Orchid and Art Exhibition, Chicago Botanic Garden, March 2-3, Best in Class, 2019
  • MAAC Exhibition, Box Factory for the Arts , St. Joseph, Michigan, June 15-July 30, 2018
  • One-Woman Exhibit, Fernwood Botanical Garden, Niles, MI, March 1-April 15, 2018
  • Faculty/Student Juried Art Show, South Bend Museum of Art, Best in Show, 2017
  • Northern Indiana Artists 75th Anniversary Juried Members Exhibit, April 7-July 16, 2017, Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN
  • Illinois Orchid Society, Spring Orchid and Art Exhibition, Chicago Botanic Garden, First Place Art/Sculpture, 2017 
  •  Illinois Orchid Society, Spring Orchid and Art Exhibition, Chicago Botanic Garden, First Place Art Exhibit Design, 2017
  • Northern Indiana Artists, Juried Members Exhibition, University of Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, Judge’s Award, 2016
  • Illinois Orchid Society, Fall Orchid and Art Exhibition, Chicago Botanic Garden, Best in Class: Sculpture/Art, 2016
  • Illinois Orchid Society, Fall Orchid and Art Exhibition, Chicago Botanic Garden, First Place: Sculpture/Art, 2016
  • Northern Indiana Artists, Juried Members Exhibition, South Bend Museum of Art, 2016
  • South Bend Art League: Arts in Bloom Garden Walk, Featured Artist, 2016
  • Northern Indiana Artists, Buchanan Art Exhibit, Merit Award 2016
  • One-Woman Exhibit, Ancilla College, Donaldson, IN, 2010
  • Three Rivers Art Festival, Award of Distinction 2005














Galleries and Shops

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Kathleen's works of art are currently available at these locations: