To me, one of the most visually striking elements of driftwood is the part of the tree that we otherwise never get a chance to see: the root structure. We are used to seeing trees and bushes in the ground, where only the trunk and branches are part of the landscape. When a tree becomes driftwood, however, the sea strips away the dirt and rocks and lays bear the fantastic shapes that comprise the underpinnings of the plant. While beachcombing, I particularly enjoy finding roots, as these are some of the most interesting kinds of driftwood with which to work.
As a tree takes root and begins to grow, the root structure grows as well. Like the branches that grow above-ground, roots send out tendrils that anchor the plant to the earth, direct moisture up the trunk, into the branches, and from there into the leaves or needles. Along the rocky shores of Prince William Sound, roots must find a tenuous hold in the cracks of boulders, and in the patches of earth that lay thinly across a hard volcanic underpinning.
My piece "Moving Water" is comprised almost entirely of roots, which have been woven together in much the same way that each one grew among the rocks and soil that formerly gave life to the plant. Just as the forces of water have stripped these roots of their surface covering, the sculpture evokes a flowing cascade of water coursing down an Alaska mountainside.
Abstract Sculpture, 2014.
Alaska driftwood and adhesive
Base 14" by 20"; 30" high.
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