designed by nature, imagined by artist steve lloyd
Alaska Driftwood Art

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In addition to the countless branches, tree trunks, roots, twigs, and other naturally-grown driftwood blanketing Alaska beaches, there are many pieces of lumber. Some are large beams from docks or other marine structures that have been broken up by the sea, and drifted for countless miles before being swept onto the rocks. Others are dimensional lumber like 2x4s and 4x8s that were lost overboard from a passing ship or fishing boat. Some look as though they are fresh from the lumberyard, and others bear scars from being battered against the rocks and beach gravel before becoming lodged above the tide line, where the long hours of Alaska summer sunlight bleach them into a light gray.

I usually restrict my beachcombing to driftwood that is in its natural form; in other words, branches, roots and the like. But sometimes I'll find a piece of dimensional lumber that has such character, I can't resist bringing it back to the studio. The frame in this piece comes from a single 2x10 plank that I sawed and fitted into a frame of the shadow-box sculpture I named "Jail Break". I wanted to evoke the image of peering through the bars of a jail window (whether from the inside or the outside is up to the viewer), with a view of uniquely-textured driftwood seemingly suspended in midair, with a small figure that could be... what?

From a technical standpoint, the easiest approach would have been to attach the eight vertical pieces directly to top and bottom of the shadowbox frame. However, I wanted to create the illusion that the "bars" were suspended in midair, which required me to mount each piece from behind with only a few
attachment points to the frame itself. For the central figure, I found a small, unusually-shaped piece of driftwood that to me suggests the form of a seal orperhaps even a mythical selkie. It perches upon a naturally-sculpted piece of wood which has been perforated by shipworms.

"Jail Break"

Abstract Shadowbox, 2014.


Alaska driftwood and adhesive.

20" wide by 6" deep; 19" high.

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