Artist Kristine Letson transforms the wood she collects from her beach walks into beautiful, sculptural trees. 

Kristine Letson, co-owner of Stonefields Farm in North Saanich, gathers the building pieces for her “tree puzzles” while beachcombing.

“I find the wood here and there, off beaches, coves, shorelines,” she says. “Often it is just happenstance when out rambling around, and I see a lovely curvy bit of wood … And then there are also dedicated beachcombing afternoons, with the sole purpose of finding the exact piece that is missing from the tree puzzle.” 

After bringing the wood home and letting it dry for a while, she starts to play with it, laying out the pieces along the floor in Stonefields Farm barn until she has something that works visually.

“There is no method, it is very loose and mood driven,” she explains. “I love the grey, weatherbeaten aspect of driftwood and I love how it will continue to weather as a driftwood tree. I really love how it does no harm to the environment when it no longer is functioning as a driftwood tree.”

The size of the driftwood tree depends on the pieces that Letson is working with and have ranged from 10 inches to around six feet.  She also can make specific sizes to order.

“I love that there are no two the same, ever — and that  each brings out its own personality as it grows,” she says. “They are just little bits of magic to me and it is rather fabulous to hear back from the people who have gotten one, years after the fact, to tell me more about their tree.   [They] connect us to nature on so many levels.” 

Letson will be at the Winter’s Tide Makers Market with her trees, hand-painted canvas totes, original art cards and hand-painted trays, along with handmade wooden storage crates and cutting boards.