The timeless appeal of weathered driftwood is eternal. Collected by beachcombers and artisans all over the world, what was rejected by the oceans becomes a coveted element of nature transformed by the sun, wind, sand and tides. Driftwood is wood that has been washed onto a shore or beach of a sea, lake or river by the action of winds, tides, waves or man. It is a form of marine debris or ‘tidewrack’. Most driftwood is the remains of trees, in whole or part, that have been washed into the ocean, due to flooding, high winds or other natural occurrences, or as the result of logging. Floating on the ocean, plants and other sea life and bacteria take a role in decomposing the wood which gradually turns the wood into nutrients that are reintroduced into the food web. Floating on the water or drifting onto the shore, driftwood also provides shelter and food for birds, fish and other aquatic species. Often, driftwood itself becomes the foundation for sand dunes. Who knew? The end result of this partially decomposed wood results in a piece of nature that gives us an appreciation of ocean and sea life.
Interestingly, there is also a subset of driftwood known as ‘drift lumber’. ‘Drift Lumber’ includes the remains of man-made wooden objects and structures washed into the sea during storms, objects discarded into the water from the shore, lost cargo from ships or dropped dunnage (wood used to keep & hold cargo on a ship) and shipwrecked remains of wooden ships or boats. Scientifically speaking, known as Jetsam (unwanted material or goods thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore) and Flotsam (the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea). Of note, due to erosion, determining the exact origin of a piece of driftwood is said to be nearly impossible. History adrift, I suppose…
Speaking of history…of interest, Norse mythology speaks of the first humans, Ask and Embla, who were formed out of two pieces of driftwood, and ash and an elm, by the God Odin and his brothers. Who knew? Long standing Appeal within the passage of time, indeed!
Inspired by the natural beauty of driftwood, beachcombers and artisans, searching for aesthetic bliss in the organic form and shape of driftwood, gather these discarded ocean treasures. Treasure hunting in the sand. Artistry with driftwood is diverse. The skill goes beyond simply filling a glass vessel with collected remnants from the ocean. The craftsmanship and artistic interpretation with driftwood is an art in its own right. Beyond the images I have compiled and presented here, an example of the handcrafted artistic creations of driftwood sculpture can be appreciated further by viewing the work of driftwood artisan Michael Fleming Designs Adrift (www.designsadrift.com). From the coast of Maine, this highly skilled artisan states perfectly regarding his driftwood art “Where nature and style meet”. Indeed. Nature and style.
It is said that the eco-friendly movement with a direction of sustainable lifestyles has influenced interior design with the use of natural, organic woods, such as driftwood. Marked by imperfection, driftwood is truly one of a kind. Unique, aged and timeless. Driftwood holds weathered appeal of “found” wood and “found” style, smoothed to perfection by the sun, sand, winds and sea. Incorporating the distinctive element of driftwood into the interiors (and exteriors) is a natural expression of the wonders of nature and the waters that cover it…
Style, washed ashore, with weathered appeal, indeed.
“Weathered and windswept, driftwood reminds one of walks along the breezy shoreline, the wind swirling below and azure sky…”