Saturday, April 25, 2009


At Aaron's Beach the other day, all sorts of treasures had washed up on the shore. Some people might amble along and see the obvious: beach, sand, water, shells, seagulls, fish bones. But the Chesapeake Bay Children and I are slowly becoming avid treasure hunters, able to spend hours combing a small patch of beach and walking away with armloads of crap loot.

Included in our treasure chest this time were many pieces of green sea glass (one of the less common colors); an arrowhead (oh is that a good find); sponges; driftwood and huge oyster shells. The oyster shells are interesting because it's rare to find really large oysters anymore, so these likely have quite a bit of age on them. In fact, I'm reasonably sure they're older than soap scum ring around my bathtub, but this is neither here nor there.


The arrowhead is incredible, and I'll talk about that some other day because more copying from Wikipedia research is needed for me to babble speak intelligently about it.

Driftwood is exactly what it sounds like: wood that has spent quite a bit of time floating in the water until ultimately finding a home on the shore. All that time in the water renders it smooth and more interesting than your average chunk of wood. Sometimes there are worm holes or deep ridges carved on it, and the weathering process usually gives it a rounded, artistic shape.

(By the way, the trees lying on the shore above don't really qualify as the type of driftwood I'm talking about. Too big and still too tree-like. No, I'm talking about smaller pieces you can pick up that have taken on an entirely different look altogether.)

In fact, driftwood is often used in works of art or as decorative pieces in flower beds or homes. We have a local artist, Ben R., who uses driftwood as the foundation for some of his incredible--and I do mean incredible--bird carvings. He affixes the birds atop the wood, which gives a really authentic look. His creations are nothing short of spectacular, and you can often see him at local art shows and Mathews Market Days.

Yesterday I traveled back to the beach to look for more sea glass and to take more pictures. There were three small pieces of driftwood that beckoned to be taken home even though I'm not usually a driftwood picker-upper. They were begging to be made into something artistic, but I've never done anything with driftwood before--or anything artistic, for that matter--so I'm not sure what I'll do with them.

It would have made far too much sense to take pictures of these pieces and show them here, but they're three beautifully shaped pieces of very artsy looking wood, all of which can fit in the palm of your hand. As I said, I'm not artistic, but I have this strong desire to do something craftsy with them. (For the time being, I am ignoring the fact that any and all other crafts I have attempted ended in complete and utterly disastrous failure accompanied by several temper tantrums and a hefty dose of high blood pressure. But let's pretend right now that I can do something with these that does not include tantrums or off-the-chart blood pressure readings.)

If you had three interesting pieces of driftwood that had the potential to become something artistic, what would you use them for or make with them? Bird carving is not in my repertoire, but maybe gluing some shells or sea glass would work. Oh! I could shellac some fiddler crabs and glue them on!! That one really has some potential, except I'm in no mood to catch, touch or shellac a fiddler crab.

Have you ever seen driftwood used in art before, and what ideas do you have for using it?

Perhaps I'll take a picture of the driftwood and post them up here at some point. Or perhaps like most things I say I'm going to do, I'll get distracted and then forget about it entirely, especially after I lose the three pieces of driftwood and/or grind them up on the lawn mower after some kid throws them in the yard.

Happy Saturday - It's supposed to hover near 90 degrees here today. My type of weather.


Grandma J said...

I used to love going down on the beach after a big storm to gather driftwood.
Depending on the size of your three pieces, You could make a lamp base, or a condo complex for your ant colony.

Annie said...

ah, lovely. I love drfitwood...and also am very un-artistic. So I would probably leave them lying around with some shells and seaweed maybe...looking artistic in a glass bowl or something? You can tell I haven't got a clue!
Meanwhile just take a photo of them and we can all enjoy it!

Linda J said...

Hey Chesapeake Bay Woman (love the handle)

Just saw your post and noted the sea glass comments.

If you love sea glass, you may be interested in our online community Sea Glass Lovers.

Members share thousands of photos, craft and display ideas, beach locations throughout the world, shard id and much more!

Please consider this your invitation to join us, hope to see you there at

Autumnforest said...

Oh boy--you lucky girl! I miss collecting driftwood. I'm thinking of making a trip to the river to see if I can fin any here in the desert. I have loads of things I use them for, sometimes if it's just a limb, I use it as the anchor for a windchime and use hook eye screws to hold string and hang other found objects. If I had three large pieces of it, I'd put them into a tripod and put a decorative bowl on top for a birdbath. You can probably use twine to hold them with screws for extra strength. They also would look beautiful stacked inside a fireplace you're not using now that it's spring.

MommyTime said...

I love driftwood! If I had three lovely smallish pieces, I'd do something with them that could become a centerpiece. Perhaps fill a glass globe with marbles and sea glass, plant narcissus or paper whites in them (just use water, no soil), and then place the driftwood on the surface of the pebbles/marbles/glass, as an earthy sort of base for the bulbs to sprout through. Or do something involving a wooden bowl and loose grains for an autumnal centerpiece? I don't know for sure. But they do sound lovely.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

My father-in-law polishes it and - you called it - carves birds and attaches them to the driftwood. I have no such talents.

I like Mommytime's ideas!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ-The ant condo complex has potential, but there isn't a piece of driftwood big enough to house all the ants here.

Annie-Your ideas are right up there with mine, but I think it's also worthwhile as you say to post pictures and solicit ideas.. Maybe that could be the next contest.....

Linda J-I'll check it out.

Autumnforest-Holy mackerel, your ideas are brilliant. Seriously. And you just came up with that so effortlessly....obviously you're a true artist, and I greatly admire that. GREAT ideas.

Mommytime-Are you and Autumnforest sisters? Because I am stunned once again. The centerpiece idea is wonderful, they're small enough that it'd work.

Meg - I'd love to see your uncle's work.

Thank you all for your ideas, they're fantastic.

foolery said...

Branching off of your idea, we are big collectors of

drift leaves
drift bottles
drift dirt
drift cowpies
drift cats
drift bikes-left-in-the-yard


drift Barbies

I have no immediate plans for any of them. A burn pile seems like a good idea, however.

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