DRIFTWOOD – THE SEA’s BEGUILING BOUNTY
The beaches close by to Laugharne are adorned with wonderful driftwood.
I’ve started collecting it, preparing it and painting on it. These are small works that I hang in the local café restaurant – Poons and are becoming quite popular. Full gallery here
Even before the wood is touched in anyway it has its own splendour. I put a lot together in a stack the other day and standing back realised I had created a construction that would wipe it’s nose as a piece of art! Well, perhaps that is too ambitious a suggestion!
Bit of digging around and I came across interesting facts about this harvest from the sea. Driftwood provides shelter for sea birds, fish and lots of other aquatic species. Wood discarded from the shore is jetsam, that which is discarded from ships, or the remains of ships and boats is known as flotsam. I’d always wondered about these two words.
In Norse mythology the first humans, Ask and Embla were formed from driftwood.
Artists are fascinated by driftwood, including Lars Vilks, who’s drawings of Mohammed resulted in two failed attempts on his life by Islamic Extremists. In 1980 Vilks created two sculptures, Nimis and Arx, the former made entirely of driftwood in the Kullaberg nature reserve.
The native peoples on the Pacific coast of north America harvested driftwood and used it alongside wood they felled themselves or collected from the forest floor. It was prized for fuel, building and other purposes. This was explored in Natasha Lyons and Madonna Moss’s paper in the Journal of Ethnobiology Spring/Summer 2003: THE USE OF DRIFTWOOD ON THE NORTH PACIFIC COAST: AN EXAMPLE FROM. SOUTHEAST ALASKA
Accounts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suggest that driftwood was much more plentiful then than it is now. Which is a shame. It is hardly likely that ‘drift plastic’ will take its special place.
Natasha Lyons and Madonna Moss’s and the Journal of Ethnobiology Spring/Summer 2003:
THE USE OF DRIFTWOOD ON THE NORTH PACIFIC COAST: AN EXAMPLE FROM. SOUTHEAST ALASKA