SEQUIM — As the world experienced twists and turns in recent years, artists with Olympic Driftwood Sculptors said they found a sense of calm and healing in the directions their art would go.
“For a lot of us, it was almost like therapy during COVID,” club co-founder Tuttie Peetz said.
“You couldn’t go anywhere else, so it helped me forget about what’s going on in the rest of the world.
“It fills a creative spot in my life.”
She and dozens of other driftwood artists have worked on many pieces since their last show in 2019 with about 70 of their favorite works on display for free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Dungeness River Nature Center, 1943 W. Hendrickson Road.
It features driftwood sculpting demonstrations, a driftwood boutique (credit cards accepted), raw wood for sale and a raffle for a driftwood piece several club members have worked on in recent months to support a future high school scholarship for a student going into the arts.
The sculptors’ last show was at the Sequim Middle School during Sequim Lavender Weekend, but they opted to move once foot traffic went down after the Sequim Lavender Festival’s Street Fair was moved from Fir Street to Carrie Blake Community Park, members said.
Club president Kathy Bachman said members wanted to bring the show back because they love working with wood and to be with people again.
“COVID put a hitch in everything,” Peetz said, and Olympic Driftwood Sculptors (ODS) members didn’t meet in person until late 2022.
They’ve also seen a decrease in members for an array of reasons.
“We’re hoping to garner interest and grow membership,” she said.
With the show, Peetz said she hopes there’s an interest in driftwood classes returning in June.
A former credit manager, Peetz has led driftwood sculpting since the club’s foundation in 2008. She learned of driftwood art in Seattle, later took a class in Sequim, became an instructor of the LuRon Method (a style, for example, that does not attach anything non-driftwood to the art), and has since branched out in ODS’ style to diversify what the driftwood can be displayed with, such as glass, rocks and metal work.
Bachman joined at the prompting of a friend who first encouraged her to join the Clallam County Gem & Mineral Association, then ODS, and now many of her sculptures incorporate rocks into her driftwood art.
“When people see the show, they’re amazed,” she said.
“They enjoy it so much they want to get involved … (driftwood) opens up new doors and your imagination.”
Bachman finds there’s room for many types of driftwood interpretations as it appeals to all types of people.
“There’s a lot you can do with driftwood,” she said.
Artists like Bachman and Peetz find making the art peaceful.
“I can really relax and unwind,” Bachman said.
Olympic Driftwood Sculptors meets at 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month (next up June 7) at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.
For more information about Olympic Driftwood Sculptors, visit olympicdriftwoodsculptors.org.
The club’s show is put together by its committee of Bachman, Peetz, Wayne Blackburn, Geri Smith and Jill Steele.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.