The art of finding, crafting driftwood

Olympic Driftwood Sculptors look to double attendance at lavender show

Coleen Dennis finishes up a driftwood necklace prior to the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors sixth annual lavender show. She said making driftwood art is like an opening a present because you don’t know what’s underneath the bark.

Like the driftwood they find, artists with the Olympic Driftwood Sculptors are taking the medium all over the map.

From the more subtle sculptures to the fantastical, 50 artists present their biggest show of the year with 100-plus pieces of driftwood art during Sequim Lavender Weekend, July 18-20, at Sequim Middle School, 301 Hendrickson Road.

Going into their second year at the school venue, club co-founder Tuttie Peetz said they are hoping to double their total of 1,000 visitors last year with better signage and word-of-mouth. “It’s an artistic outlet for many of us,” Peetz said.

With driftwood, many artists add it to their repertoire of jewelry making, painting and more.

“We threw out all the rules when we started,” Peetz said. “Some people have a better eye but anybody can learn to do it.”

Sculptors somewhat follow the LuRon method to not use electric tools while sometimes incorporating mixed media.

Peetz, for example, added metal wire as feet to her piece “Gentle Dragon,” which will be featured on the club’s “Fantasia” themed table with fantasy-like art pieces.

To find their wood, sculptors search clear-cuts, forests and sometimes the beach despite its increasing scarcity due to increased interest in driftwood.

But once sculptors begin delving into a piece, they find it can be almost magical.

“It’s like opening a present,” said club member Coleen Dennis. “You don’t know what you are going to get until you get under the bark.”

“It’s soothing,” member Kathy Bachman said. “You can go into Zen when sanding.”

At the show, many people see driftwood art for the first time, Peetz said, because it remains an art form found mostly in the Pacific Northwest.

The reaction of people seeing the art and reading their names for the first time is one highlight for member Joan Masterson. “You also meet people from all over, even Europe,” Bachman said.

At the driftwood show, artists will demonstrate throughout the weekend and a driftwood boutique and a raffle piece “Lover’s Dance,” made by eight individuals will benefit scholarships for local high school students who plan to study art in college. This year, the club gave $875 each to two local high school seniors.

Some of the items in the boutique include handmade pendants, wreaths, magnets, picture frames and more.

Club members don’t sell items at their show but interested customers can leave a contact number on a card and the artist will contact them.

Olympic Driftwood Sculptors meets 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the Sequim Prairie Grange. For more information, contact 683-6860 or or visit


Olympic Driftwood Sculptors

Sixth annual Lavender Weekend show

Admission: free

Sequim Middle School Cafeteria, 301 Hendrickson Road

Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, July 18-20

100-plus pieces, demos, boutique, theme table for “Fantasia”


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