Acquiring Materials for "Beached" Series

The Beached series is made up of materials that are commonly used in the construction of surfboards, as well as found objects that relate to surfing and life at the beach.  

Acquiring the materials used in this series was one of the most satisfying parts of the entire project.  Since some of the components that make up the sculptures aren't things you can just buy from the art store, it made for a more time consuming, but unique and interesting experience.  Wandering up and down the beach searching for washed up driftwood, exploring the aisles of KJP hardwood warehouse in awe at the size and array of species of wood I had never even heard of - let alone seen, cruising by garbage bins to see if anyone had miraculously thrown out a surfboard (it was a long shot, but actually ended up paying off believe it or not), conducting science experiments in the studio to get salt crystals to grow on old pieces of balsa, and a couple trips to Surf Side for wax was what gathering the materials for this project consisted of.  

The driftwood collecting was an amazing day spent on the beach with my mom, who was a great help at both finding pieces and helping me carry them all the way back to the car. Most of this stuff was not your average beach twig that can hang out of your back pocket, the pieces were large, heavy, and awkward to carry. That being said, finding it all and getting it back to the house was the easy part. Cutting extremely uneven, and odd shaped driftwood full of water and sand on an old table saw not equipped with safety gear was the sketchy part. I found out that sand in wood tends to create a lot of sparks, and then I found out it also tends to dull your saw blade quite quickly. I was using my dads saw, so apologies to him for leaving his blade not much sharper than a butter knife. I owe you one.

Speaking of my dad, he was the one who found the surfboards by the dump that are used in the sculptures. I asked him if he could help me out and be on the lookout for any discarded boards, and sure enough he called one day to say that not only did he find a board, he found 3! One mans trash really is another mans treasure. To be fair, one of the three boards was quite waterlogged and must have weighed 200 pounds, so it wouldn't have been much of a performer on the water. The other two were in decent shape and have some pretty rad, vintage colours and designs on them, which I am very excited to incorporate into some pieces down the line. 

Since I am definitely no scientist, the crystallized salt pieces were a lot of trial and error, mixed with Internet research and quite a few YouTube videos. The Ecovative Mycofoam was also a product of Internet research which I am super stoked on. For those of you who don't know, it is a mushroom and plant by-product based foam alternative. Very eco friendly and rapidly renewable. It is used for growing surfboards, or really anything you can think of! Check out their website and grow something for yourself! 

KJP hardwoods is an absolutely amazing warehouse here in Ottawa that has any and every type of wood you can possibly think of. I am like a kid in a candy store every time I go. I get excited just planning a trip there. Any woodworker, builder, crafter, arborist, artist, maker of any kind needs to go to KJP. I promise you'll love it. Even people who don't like wood should go. It will make you like wood. This is where I found the balsa and basswood used in the pieces. 

The saying, "its's not the about the destination, it’s about the journey" comes to mind when looking back on the making of the "Beached" series. Quality time spent with family and friends has not only materialized into a series of paintings that I am proud of, but also created a list of memories along the way. Thanks to everyone that helped in any way to make this crazy idea of mine come to life. I couldn't have done it without you. 

The "Beached" series will be exhibited at Frank and Oak in Ottawa (297 Richmond) from October 1st - December 31.