My Driftwood Bird
A few years ago I was flicking through one of my favourite English magazines and came across some wonderful driftwood sculptures created by Kirsty Elson. These were tiny colourful houses, rusty nails sticking out of their rooftops just like leaning chimneys. I loved Kirsty’s handmade streets and her creativity recreating the tiniest details so much that I decided to have a go at making something similar. My first real attempt happened last year – I came up with my own lighthouse, but it’s not good enough… I know I can do better. (Some of Austin Kleon’s thoughts from his book “Steal Like an Artist” spring to my mind – nothing is original, artist is just a collector; if you ask me I agree that good ideas are worth collecting and stealing, yet I’d love to interpret them in my own way and this usually means that it will take time. So lets forget my first attempt and move on.)
Did you have a look at Kirsty’s artwork? Thinking logically these are only pieces of scrap wood joined together, it shouldn’t be hard, right? This whole driftwood art thing should be fun. Well, to be honest I always manage to enjoy the first part of the project – beachcombing and looking for anything that could be used, yet the second part… is a bit tricky. The second part is based on observation and imagination. If you can notice how to join your pieces together and if you can envisage what would look good and where, you’re in luck. Kirsty has obviously developed her own style and I bet that now she can come up with something eye catching much quicker than years ago, when she just started making her sculptures. I hope to get to this stage at some point in my life, meanwhile I celebrate rare victories.
My observation and imagination joined their forces a month or so ago. That magic day four pieces of driftwood turned into a bird. It’s more or less au naturel, only the “leg” was painted, but even this piece was made to look old and worn.
The top two pieces were glued together, nothing complicated.
Yet glue wasn’t enough… I had to drill (these days I’m turning into a real carpenter)! It seems all you have to do is turn your observation and imagination on and once you’ve passed this bit your hands will know what to do.
My bird has travelled a long way away from Kirsty’s houses. This sculpture is nothing like her architectural scenes, but I’m happy for it to live on our windowsill, so it can’t be that bad. What do you think to it?
Over the last few years I have collected a box of driftwood and sometimes play with it. I’ve already started a new project, yet I’m still far away from connecting all the dots quickly. It will take time, but I can promise you that there will be more driftwood art.