If you found yourself hiking Mount Ellinor on a summer day in 2017, you may have bumped into a couple fresh from Sitka, Alaska, exploring the Olympic Peninsula for the first time.
Inspired by the vibrancy of that day, Davis and Jennifer Stevenson made the decision to relocate and create a business that paid homage to the culture and spirit of the area.
“We had an amazing day, hiked in the snow, went down to the beach and dug for clams, then cooked them for dinner,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s passion for beach foraged jewelry combined with Davis’ interest in crafting lamps made from driftwood and stone formed the perfect foundation for Northwest Beach Works, a quintessential Pacific Northwest-inspired business.
After introducing their wares to the public, the encouraging response and interest prompted the Stevensons to purchase a lathe and begin experimenting.
Born from driftwood and recycled scraps of wood, the artistic couple was soon turning out beautiful pens, and in the process discovered an entirely new joy.
“I fell in love with wood-turning,” Jennifer said. “I went crazy, doing it left and right. Eventually, I ran out of friends to give pens to.”
That’s when the Stevensons decided to embrace their calling towards woodworking, and Northwest Beach Works was born.
From the start, Northwest Beach Works has been committed to ethical harvesting practices when it comes to sourcing their medium. Their reclaimed wood is frequently obtained from the Wooden Boat Foundation in Port Townsend, leftover from large boat builds, and their driftwood and beach treasures foraged from heavily impacted natural areas.
Every one of the Stevenson’s pieces is one of a kind, fashioned with unique artistry, and each has a story. Jennifer points to the first moment she cuts into a new piece of wood as the highlight of her process.
“I really enjoy working with new wood,” she said. “Anytime someone gives us a tree or I get my hands on new wood I’m always the first in the shop with a chunk of it.
“I want to know what it turns like, I want to see what it’s like in the inside. It’s very rewarding to get new wood and find out that it cuts beautifully.”
Jennifer said she often witnesses market guests sensing the unique nature of Northwest Beach Works creations.
“We have a lot of people who seem to have a sort of spiritual experience at our booth,” she said, laughing. “I’ve had people walk up, see a bowl, gasp, pick it up, and have this aha moment! Sometimes they won’t even talk. They just turn around and hand it to me.”
At Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market, you can find Northwest Beach Works’ vibrant display of wooden ballpoint and fountain pens, bowls, rolling pins, bottle stoppers, bottle openers, oven rack pulls, seam rippers and pepper grinders.
Additionally, you’ll discover foraged sea glass and beach pebble earrings and bracelets, as well as a natural insect repellent and beard oils.
As artisans rejoin Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market’s modified market, the Stevensons are very happy to be back with Northwest Beach Works. You can find them every Saturday, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Sequim Civic Center, 152 W. Cedar St. Check out their website nwbeachworks.com for a snapshot of their creations.
Emma Jane Garcia is Marketing Manager for the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market. See www.sequim market.com.