Patrick Robinson
Steven, Austin and Pedro are creating a unique form of public art by carving designs into beach driftwood at Lincoln Park.

Carving driftwood leaves an artistic public mark in Lincoln Park

If you've been for a walk in Lincoln Park over the last few months you may have noticed that one or two pieces of driftwood bear a certain mark of distinction. They've been carved with unique and creative designs.

In a chance encounter the Herald ran into the artists responsible on April 7 as they worked on their latest creation. They are (first names only) Steven, Austin, and Pedro and they approach the work in a kind of zen like calm and as if the rendition of design were a form of meditation.

Steven, whose 45 year wood carving experience, is happy to let you try your hand, though his carry out the task with obvious ease. He has the wood chisels and hammers and he's also the one who first lays out the design on the wood. He uses of all things, Martha Stewart Living water based paint, and a very small amount at that.

After the paint of the design has dried (they need dry days to proceed of course) they come together to chisel out the design. They've previously carved a seal, a salmon and a spiral into logs and were working on a stylized whale as we spoke to them.

"We had a neurosurgeon come by," said Steven, "and he carved with me for two hours and he said he'd never had so much fun in his whole life."

The artwork has been noticed they said. "One of them went back out in the water and floated down to that condo on stilts and somebody came down and picked it up off the beach," Steven said. Just a reminder...it's illegal to remove driftwood from Seattle's public beaches and it's also a violation to burn it.

Is it illegal to carve into it? They said they didn't think so and have not been bothered by any parks dept. people as they carry out the work, which can take many hours to complete.

The carvers plan to complete the current work within a week and have an open invitation to join them for a few minutes to try your hand. If you are looking for a way to escape the stress of your daily life, this might be a great way to do it.

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