I am fascinated by the shapes, textures and colors of wood that has been transported by currents and tides, and then cast ashore by the sea. I use Alaska driftwood exclusively to create both abstract sculptures and artistic, functional pieces that evoke the forces of life, time, sunlight, and the ocean.
I look for innovative ways to arrange and present driftwood in a way that puts a creative spin on the material. I think of my sculptures and other driftwood creations as having been designed by nature, then found and imagined by me. I try to honor the heritage of the material that I use, arranging and (at times) reshaping it to pay tribute to the natural forces that gave each piece its distinctive appearance.
The wood by itself can be quite beautiful, but the sea is incapable of forming driftwood into geometrical shapes such as spheres and cubes. Nature forms the living tree, and nature sculpts and polishes it once it becomes driftwood. It is left to me to reinterpret the material in a way that highlights the uniqueness of each piece of wood while emphasizing its natural beauty.
Many of my pieces are created using a variation on classic mosaic-making techniques, which I have adapted to create what I call Molded Driftwood Sculpture. I look at each piece of wood that I collect as having a personality and a story all its own. My goal is to incorporate that material into an assembled piece that preserves the shape and texture imposed by natural elements, while presenting driftwood in a way that may (or may not) be functional, but is always natural and beautiful.
By working with driftwood and designing pieces that highlight its unique characteristics, I have learned to look at trees and rocks and beaches in new ways. The patterns visible on the wild beaches of Alaska find their way into my art, just as the material that I use began as driftwood, cast up by ocean waves or dropped by a falling tide.
Photo: Kent Devine
Explore a selection of my recent Alaska driftwood creations
Share my process of gathering unique driftwood that has been sculpted by the ocean
The natural forces of the ocean and the elegance of the raw material inspire my creations
Meet Alaskan artist Steve Lloyd, creator of abstract sculptures and functional art pieces made from wild Alaska driftwood