PORT ANGELES — Sky Darwin wants to rebuild a memory and document the stories that revolved around it.
Darwin, of Port Angeles, is reconstructing the driftwood heart art installation that has stood among the riprap on Ediz Hook on the edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Built in 2015 by Sahrah Brown of Victoria, the sculpture was set ablaze last spring, leaving charred ruins.
Darwin, a driftwood sculptor, decided that a replacement was in order.
“I’ve been doing these kinetic sculptures up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Bellingham for the last eight years,” he said.
“I finally moved to Port Angeles and saw that somebody had burned the heart. I’d been wanting to do something around the existing heart and thought, ‘Somebody should fix that.’ ”
Removing the burned materials and the hardware holding it together was the first task.
Working primarily on weekends, he stripped the sculpture down to its basic shape and began the process of reconstructing the piece.
The restoration project began in June, and Darwin estimates it will take several more weeks to get the endeavor to the point where he can leave it to the public for future care and maintenance.
“When I run out of the hardware that’s been donated to the project, I’m going to stop and invite the community to take over,” he said. “ ‘Here it is guys — it’s back to you.’ And people can add to it as they want to.”
Although tools and hardware donations have made much of the work possible, Darwin said materials may be a stumbling block.
There is only so much usable driftwood on Ediz Hook.
“It’s not driftwood Walmart out here,” he said.
Undaunted, he said he would take it as far as he could.
A tip jar sits along the parking area near the heart art installation whenever Darwin is working. As of last Saturday, he said he had collected more than $100 from appreciative passers-by.
He said he wants to donate any funds left after construction to Healthy Families of Clallam County, and he hopes others will match the donation. Contributions can be made through his website, shiftwoodsculpture.wordpress.com, or directly to the organization.
After his role in reconstruction is complete, Darwin wants to assemble a multimedia project about the heart, titled “Memories of the Heart,” by collecting people’s personal recollections and images of the piece. Those can be sent to email@example.com.
He’s confident there are many tales people can tell about the original heart sculpture.
“There are carvings and ink all over this thing,” Darwin said.
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.