As guests at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market make their way through the dazzling displays of homegrown and handmade offerings, it’s not unusual to find a small audience gathered in front of the booth anchored by Linda and Larry Gonzales, by the name of By the Sea Original Artwork. Often the center of attention is Larry.
Frequently found perched on the corner of the space, Larry can be found enjoying the Sequim sunshine as he carves the duo’s latest marine-inspired piece directly on-site at the farmers market. Guests of all ages love to witness how the pieces of By the Sea come to life.
The Gonzales’ create wood relief carvings of nature found the marine world of the Olympic Peninsula. From whales, octopuses and sea stars to seascapes and mammals, By the Sea carvings capture moments in time in a way that brings an infusion of the Strait of Juan de Fuca straight into the home.
Larry and Linda work together to interpret the scenes wanting to embody the wood slabs. It’s an intuitive process, they said, with the an scene oftentimes changing throughout the duo’s process.
“I do the carving and Linda helps designs the piece and colors it,” Larry said.
A piece is carved into a flat piece of wood, then painted, stained or otherwise colored to bring a salty vignette to life.
The artists prioritize local woods such as red and yellow cedar, birch, maple, alder and madrone.
“We prefer woods that grow here in the Pacific Northwest. We want it to be from here,” Linda said.
“One thing a lot of people ask at the market is if all the carvings are from one piece of wood,” she said. “They are! The pieces have not been appliqued to another piece of wood.”
The process culminates in a display of fine art pieces that capture the distinct energy of Washington state shorelines. Each piece takes about 15 hours to complete.
With a fascination for marine lifeforms, most of the pieces feature a critter whose life is spent in the water but are not completely limited to that.
“By the sea here, you’ll find the forest and it’s so beautiful. We include animals from the trees as well because they depend on the sea to survive,” Linda said.
Added Larry, “Market guests tend to drive our interest. People have an affinity for so many different animals, like ravens or even just a scene, like waves. So we’ve had some requests for more waves or more baby animals.”
Frequently found on a daily beach walk, the Gonzales’ leave themselves open for inspiration to strike from the natural world.
“It’s never-ending what nature can throw at you,” Larry said.
By the Sea is at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market every Saturday from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. each Saturday through October.
Visit your community market at Sequim City Hall Plaza at North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street, and at Centennial Place at the Sequim Avenue and Washington Street intersection.
Want more market updates? Be sure to tune in every Friday at 4 p.m. to KSQM 91.5 FM for the live radio “Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Hour.”
Emma Jane “EJ” Garcia is the Market Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.