Driftwood Sculpture and The Alchemical Creation Formula

I make Driftwood Art, and a number of folks have asked about my process.

I usually tell them that I like working with driftwood because I enjoy the alchemy of the multiple overlapping archetypal elements.

As I’m hauling a waterlogged piece of driftwood out of the Mississippi River, I’m thinking about the life of the tree. Water. History. Family. Time. The Hero’s Journey.

Reminiscent of the primordial soup.

While I’m power-washing the mud out of every nook and cranny of a driftwood stump, I’m thinking about The Earth, and earth (as in dirt), and the small seedlings from which mighty things grow.

As the stump sits drying in my garage studio for months I’ll look at it and think about the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

As I sand and then finish-seal the piece with oil, I will think of all the wonders of the modern world created from base elements silica and oil, including the smartphone I use to type right now.

When welding the steel pedestal that the driftwood will stand on, the elements of metal and fire are added to the mix. And I’ll think of the irony that many of my driftwood pieces resemble flames.

I think about the joy it will bring a friend. The new life that the finished piece will have, rooted in its new home.

Throughout, I feel a collaboration between Creator and creator. How the hand of God works through us.

I think all Art is like that.

Taken together, I see a formula, old as time. The ancient alchemy of creating something new, from two things which are not.

I see the question, what do you want to create next?

Pattern recognition is the task of the Artist. This is the pattern recognition you’re looking for.

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