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  • Kim Van Sandt


This is a recent sculpture I made from a piece of found driftwood. You can see more pics of it on

Not dead people. Just things. I’ll explain….

A lady came into my booth at a recent craft fair, (well, maybe this has happened more than once) and she said, “I pick up all the same things off the beach, but I don’t do anything with them. I just collect the stuff. But you ‘see’ stuff. I don’t SEE things. You ‘see things’ and make things out of the stuff you collect.”

I’ve always enjoyed that part of art. The part where you look at something, and “SEE” something more, something better, something special. I think it started out with just silly crayon scribbles or shapes on paper. You know the kind, where the shapes resemble something or part of something. A few more doodles and it became a dog or a penguin or something more than it started out to be.

Since then, over the years, I’ve used this same process of ‘seeing’ things in different ways. Picking up this or that, or seeing a picture, seeing something artsy, or pretty, and ideas come to mind, again something more, something different or better to make from what I picked up, or to further develop another idea I see. But it would start by seeing something.

One day I was sitting in the boat, facing backwards. My husband was driving our boat through Lake Michigan at a breezy pace. And as I looked over my feet stretched out on the back bench, again, as I did for so many rides already I admired the wake behind us. The color of the lake could vary depending on the weather and the sky, but in these varying shades of deep blues or peacock, or teal, the wake was splashed through with brilliant white in graceful patterns behind us. I loved the view there, peeking up from a book, or just enjoying the sun, waking up from a nap, it was such a beautiful site. And then one day I saw something else.

I mean not really “saw” as in hallucinating - but I imagined the shapes left by the wake like the crayon scribbles, as the beginning of a picture. The area furthest out where the frothy white wake softly spread in both directions reminded me of an angel’s wings. Closest to the boat were like the skirts or the legs or base of the angel. So when you see the angels I’ve painted on driftwood, that is what I am starting from, and that is also why they are a little abstract and not very detailed.

Sometimes seeing thing will happen with more solid objects that I find. A recent addition to my Etsy shop is one such item. I found the driftwood, it was light colored, with some dark features. There were really cool, smooth, lines and some torn or broken areas. I ‘saw’ something in it as soon as I saw the piece. So I have I have smoothed out a few areas, and tamed the broken areas a little, I added some beeswax and orange oil polish, which intensified the colors, adding a beautiful red tone, but the general shape is still the same as when I found it. The resulting piece is pictured above with the title for the post. Now, I will leave it to you to figure out what you ‘see’ in the piece. Feel free to comment below about what you see. It is rather abstract, so you may see something different. My husband sees a squished bunny, you can tell a little of what I see by what I named it, “She”. Maybe the rough and broken areas are part of what I saw too? And I've included here what "She" started out looking like.

Most all of us ‘see things’ somewhere. Some people see things artistically. Some see mechanically. Some see organization in chaos. Maybe one of my other favorite areas to ‘see things’ involves the people around me. I love when you meet someone new and you can ‘see’ the potential in them.

I am also glad that when the Lord found me, he ‘saw’ more in me than what I initially presented. And I sure am better for Him having worked on me over the years. Although I think I am more of an ongoing project for him. I think then, that I want to look at people like he does, I want to look at people and see even more potential than I do in driftwood, or other artsy things.

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