Anyone who knows me, knows I’m passionate about driftwood. I love to spend time near oceans and rivers, looking for gorgeous driftwood pieces that resemble animals or are just unique and breathtaking. I don’t consider myself artistic enough to ever be able to turn any of this wood into anything artistic, but I know there are others out there who can.
I had the pleasure of interviewing one such artist who creates striking art out of ordinary driftwood. I am pleased to introduce you to Autumn Morris of Auj Art. You can find more of her work at her website, aujart.com. And please check out and ‘like’ her Facebook page as well. Following are some questions I asked the artist and I hope you’ll enjoy reading her answers and learning more about her work and her passion for driftwood art.
A. I have always been an artist, mainly doing pencil sketches but in love with Dali, anything surreal inspired me. I was 20 years into a career in the construction industry, unhappy with my job knowing I was an artist and I was searching for the answer on how to become an artist full time, to follow my bliss. I purchased the audio set of the inspirational book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, and I listened to this as I drove back and forth to my jobsite that was 5 hours one way.
So I started believing something would turn up…and then one weekend at the lake for a family get together, I looked down at my feet and saw a piece of driftwood that I though looked just like an eagle head, so I took it home and painted it. It came out so good, I went back to the lake and looked for more animals in the driftwood and found a truck load.
I started gathering and painting, and then got the nerve to try an art festival, the big one near Nashville, Bell Buckle Webb School Art Festival, over 60,000 people. I sold out that weekend. That was in 2010, and I keep going out hunting down my driftwood animals, which are mostly all cedar. I clean them, paint them, seal them and mount or hang. I love it! I can do it all day long! I have found my bliss. I just keep doing art festivals around Nashville, and have now opened a shop called Unique Arts and Antiques, in my hometown, Nolensville, TN, so I have a studio to display my creations to the public.
Q. What kind of arts and crafts inspire you the most?
A. I love surrealism and have it running in my blood. Everything I paint has a bit of it or a lot of it. The driftwood really lets my surreal side go wild so it is a perfect fit for me.
Q. What is/was your favorite artistic project to work on or create?
A. My favorite project in art…must be the driftwood. I have painted canvas in oils and acrylics, done a lot of pencil and charcoal, but the driftwood is absolutely my favorite because I never know what I will find and get so amazed at what I do find, in how the eye balls and noses are perfectly placed as if done on purpose. So it always blows my mind when I go on a hunt as to what I will and can find. I also adore going to the lake. I walk the banks for miles and hours, often resting on a rock overlooking the water to meditate and take in the sounds of nature. It is so peaceful and gratifying to me.
Q. What type of art or crafts do you most wish you could learn how to do?
A. There is a lot of art technique I would like to learn. I am practically self-taught, except for high school art and a few classes along the way. I have always been amazed with bronze work. I am pretty sure I would be good at sculpting, not carving. I never carve my driftwood, but I think I could do a good bronze, but have no idea what its all about, so that would be something that would interest me.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about your business or products?
A. My goal is to inspire young and old artists to follow their dreams and never give up no matter the situation or your age. Children love my driftwood animals, and I like to encourage them to be creative. I see myself as one day soon becoming a philanthropist, as I want to give to all kinds of charities and organizations, like world peace rallies, the humane association, museums, charities that help children in need and the like.
I will continue painting the driftwood creations. I enjoy seeing the amazement in people’s eyes when they look at it. I am totally inspired to do this and bring joy to everyone I meet with a smile and friendly conversation.