By comparing the "before" and "after" photos, it's apparent how dramatically different a piece of Alaska driftwood looks after it has been carefully crafted, sanded, burnished, and polished. I continue to learn ways to compare a piece of driftwood lying damp on a beach with the finished work of art that it can be.
Abstract Sculpture, 2014
Plants and trees that grow in the rocky ground rimming Alaska's coast are a hearty breed. I found this intricately-formed section of root, probably spruce or hemlock, tangled in a mass of driftwood tossed high up on a Prince William Sound beach. The misshapen root gave clear evidence of the gravelly soil that had once given it foundation and sustenance. Not only was it deeply indented by the curved shape of the rocks that it had grown around, but several small stones remained embedded in the wood.
Although the root had been polished by the ocean, and bleached silver by the sun, I could tell that the finely-grained pattern of the wood held a grace and beauty that I could highlight through careful sanding and polishing.
The process was lengthy and painstaking, as each crease and crevice required careful hand-sanding and burnishing to bring out the wood's natural beauty.
For a base, I chose a small piece of granite with streaks of color that complimented the tint of the wood. The trim on the base was crafted from a single piece of spruce driftwood, sawn into bookend-matched halves and polished to match the root.
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