Nature’s designs

Although she is an artist at heart, Tuttie Peetz said one of her favorite parts of creating her pieces is combing the area for the wood.

“The quest is part of the fun,” she said. “I love to go collect.”

Peetz, a driftwood artist, scours beaches, forests and even her own wooded property for interesting pieces of wood that she cleans, burnishes and makes into eye-catching pieces of artwork.

The pieces she takes home must have a unique appeal, said Peetz, who is a member of the Peninsula Driftwood Artists and also teaches beginners.

“You do look for something interesting in the wood, like holes, curves, patterns,” she explained. “You can’t just pick up any stick.”

After collecting the wood, Peetz uses a variety of tools to thoroughly clean each piece.

“We use a lot of tools,” she said. “You want (the piece) to be absolutely, thoroughly clean.”

Using everything from a dental pick to a paint brush, Peetz removes any dirty or decaying wood and cleans every nook and cranny. During the cleaning, Peetz often finds beautiful colors, textures and patterns.

“You never know what’s under it, that’s my favorite part,” Peetz said, inspecting a crack in one of her works-in-progress with a dental pick. “It’s like opening up a present.”

Peetz also uses power tools, although she discourages beginners from handling them.

“With power tools, it’s easy to mess up a piece,” Peetz said.

“We don’t carve, we call it driftwood sculpting,” she said. “We do sculpt slightly. You can remove something, but once it is off you cannot move it or put it back on. So you have to be careful.”

To finish almost every piece, Peetz said she must put it onto a base so it can stand. An exception is her “Dancing Heron,” which sits on three sides by itself.

“This one didn’t need a base but most of them do,” she said. “A base is like a picture frame. It completes a piece of my art like a frame completes a painting.”

For Peetz, who has a wall full of first-place ribbons in her studio, once she begins the wood has a mind of its own, which she simply follows.

“With driftwood art, you don’t start out deciding what it is supposed to be,” Peetz said. “You go where the wood takes you.”

Learning the art

Tuttie Peetz is a certified instructor in the LuRon method of developing finished wood sculptures from found wood. For the past six years, she has been teaching beginners the art of driftwood sculpting and holding workshops for those who are slightly more advanced and want to collaborate.

Peetz teaches three-hour, once-a-week lessons for a six-week block of time. To find out more, contact her at 683-6860.

To find out more about Peninsula Driftwood Artists, drop in at a meeting, held the first Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sequim.

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