A new sculpture by Anacortes artist Steve Lloyd now stands tall at Kiwanis Waterfront Park, just steps away from the water that helped shaped its pieces.
The sculpture, created with driftwood collected on dozens of beaches around the region, recently found a new home at the park just next to the Anacortes side of the Guemes Island ferry terminal.
This isn’t the first time “Continental Drift” has been on display in town. In 2017, the piece went up as part of the loaned art sculpture exhibit in the madrona grove behind the Depot Arts & Community Center.
In 2018, the Art Dash Committee chose to purchase the piece, along with a pair of driftwood giraffes by Bow artist Joe Treat. The committee is made up of members of the Anacortes Arts Festival and the City of Anacortes and uses funds raised by the annual Art Dash race to fund public art.
The giraffes are on display near the W.T. Preston, and “Continental Drift” was put into storage until the city could find the perfect spot for it, said Arts Festival Executive Director Meredith McIlmoyle.
This community loves public art, she said.
“We are happy we can buy art, put it on display and enrich all our experience in these public spaces,” she said.
Lloyd said he loves the location chosen by the city because it puts the sculpture close to the water.
“It’s really cool that it’s just a few steps from the ocean,” he said. “It’s a full circle for that wood, collected from similar beaches dozens or hundreds of miles separated from this one.”
Lloyd and his artist wife Julie Drake moved to Anacortes in 2017 from Alaska. He worked as a driftwood artist there (and still makes a yearly trip to collect driftwood) and said he is fascinated by how different the wood is here than up north.
The trees are different and so is the way the ocean impacts the wooden pieces, he said.
It’s inspirational to be “here in such a beautiful, natural environment,” he said. “I’m lucky to be able to continue my evolution and journey as an artist in such a beautiful place.”
He uses Washington pieces for his outdoor sculptures, like “Continental Drift” and the Alaskan pieces for fine art sculptures meant for inside display.
He started in this artistic medium first as a beachcomber and a boater. He would walk along the beaches in Alaska and look at the different stumps and sticks, fascinated by how the outdoor elements transformed the material.
This is a natural living thing that is shaped by natural forces, first when it is alive, he said.
“The forces that changed it during its lifetime are still represented in the wood,” he said.
Then, after the living thing has died, the pieces make their way into the ocean and are shaped again by waves and other outside natural forces.
To help honor that process, Lloyd said he tries not to transform the natural elements in his pieces very much. Instead, he tries to position them in a way that helps keep the feeling of flow and change that comes with the pieces themselves.
Lloyd said he decided on the sphere because it’s a shape seen in nature, but never in wood. So this shape combines the natural world and the artistic one, he said.
Like many art pieces, he thinks people will take different things away from it.
“It’s whatever people see in it,” he said.