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Driftwood Sculptures – How to find driftwood & windblown timbers


Having now worked on a number of natural timber projects. This is my take on how nature can provide the materials needed to create a rewarding creative hobby. Or possibly help you start a new business venture. Either way, the process and health benefits are the same, and something I’d urge anyone who is looking for a creative challenge. Working with Driftwood offers many possibilities and artistic opportunities. As does the decaying process that the forest floor can provide. Quite often the sharpness and often angular shapes this presents lends itself to my style of work, but the smooth almost sandblasted effect that beach driftwood offers, can equally excite me.

I suppose the best part of the process is the Find… Walking is a wonderful way to de-stress. Of the many health benefits both mental and physical to be had, for me, it adds the pleasure of a working hobby. Since I set up Raymond Paterson Designs, it has given me time away from the Workbench, or office desk for some, whilst still keeping the wheels of industry turning.

The Find doesn’t always show itself. I suppose it is akin to metal detecting. Many days and hours are spent searching (MINDFUL WALKING) but more often than not you will come home with either something you conclude you cannot work with, or nothing at all. However, when the Find does show itself, it is a fantastic buzz. The rest of the walk, for me anyways, is where mindfulness walking ceases to exist, and my head starts racing with ideas. Disrupting sleep for a night or two as the creative part of my brain hasn’t yet grasped the concept of the working time directive.

The best tip I can give anyone here is after the initial high has petered away, is to step back and leave the said piece for as long as it takes to dry out. This can be speeded up of course by removing the wet mulch or dead bark. But ultimately it needs to be left for months. Especially if it has been found wet, and in the winter. This time lapse also has the benefit of letting your initial design idea bed in. For me, I usually have a basic idea from the start what I intend to do with the piece. But I have on a few occasions seen something different emerge from the passage of time. For example, my initial idea may have been a lamp project, but then after a month or two I see something else emerge?

So, disappointing as it is that you cannot get straight to work, it is in fact good also. Off you go again….. In search of another Find… This is the process, generally you will be working on items you found 6 or more months earlier. Keeping constant vigilance for new Finds….. So whether or not this is a hobby, or a business, it’s a great way to inspire a woodland walk, Beach comb, ratch and ramble, whatever you like to call it and whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Good luck in your search, have fun and don’t be too hung up on finding the perfect piece. Please check with the local landowner also for access permission, and permission to take home anything you find.