One-of-a-kind, utterly unique, driftwood home décor

Waterloo, Ontario

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Announcement    Snow! Dreamy evenings! Must soon be Christmas.

The photo on my storefront doesn't resemble the typical cheery, red and white seasonal image, but nevertheless it is about Christmas because Christmas is just as much about reflecting as partying. I hope you can find a quiet place to sit and ponder your memories from 2021.


Last updated on 14 Nov, 2021

Snow! Dreamy evenings! Must soon be Christmas.

The photo on my storefront doesn't resemble the typical cheery, red and white seasonal image, but nevertheless it is about Christmas because Christmas is just as much about reflecting as partying. I hope you can find a quiet place to sit and ponder your memories from 2021.



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Barbara Stumpf

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Barbara Stumpf


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars

About VermilionSunset

Sales 118
On Etsy since 2016

I love what Nature makes and I love making what Nature doesn’t.

Perhaps I am more complicated than I realize! I handcraft artful works from driftwood and I am an abstract artist. I love what Nature makes and I love making what Nature doesn’t. Nature not only inspires me, it also advises me. For instance, Nature is the ultimate repurposer so instead of making two or three-dimensional replicas of it, I use it as the building material of my artful works. Driftwood is ingenious – it comes in all sizes, shapes, and shades so I respect each piece and find a perfect place for it in each artful work without altering it. This doesn’t mean I reject painting driftwood because Nature isn’t monochrome. In my abstract work I strive to mimic the simplicity and geometry of Nature and the variety and textures in Nature. In my driftwood pieces mimicking Nature means embracing ruggedness and wrinkles. I hope my works on canvas fits a wall, a lifestyle, a mood. I hope my works with driftwood holds memories and preserves the awesomeness of Nature.

She creates flowers
Crafting real flowers is the domain of Nature, but artfully crafting “flowers” from driftwood is the specialty of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada artist Barbara Stumpf. It came naturally to Barbara after being raised amongst wildflowers in Northern Ontario and having worked as a floral designer yet it takes a keen creative spirit to envision repurposing what is essentially marine debris into “flowers”.

“I have always admired the unique qualities of driftwood so I finally started to sift through heaps of it along the eastern shores of Lake Huron, one of the five fresh water Great Lakes of North America, and haul some home knowing that one day I would make something from it.” That something was frames for pictures and photographs. Each was crafted as a gift for family members. “While making the frames other shapes and ideas slowly formed. The “flower” is the first of these shapes to materialize.”

Following Nature’s penchant for variety Barbara makes small and big flowers that can be flat or uneven (as stamens and pistils often protrude), and either painted or remain as the original colours of the pieces. “Each flower “grows” as I craft it so having an ample supply of different pieces of driftwood is essential because I never know what I will use next because I do not follow a plan or sketch it first – it just grows on the bench before me.”

Barbara applies a sustainability ethos when scouring beaches. Even though she readily admits large pieces of driftwood are tempting she restricts her choices to twigs and small sticks. This practice recognizes that driftwood is marine debris that is subject to the whims of wind and wave so it might be on a beach one day and gone the next, and when it does linger it will be removed during beach maintenance work any way.

The beauty of Nature poses a conundrum. To say it is exquisite over and over again each time one experiences it seems redundant, but each time you experience Nature no one can ignore how exquisite it is and feel the need to say so. Barbara openly and eagerly adores Nature, but she seizes something more than Nature’s beauty; she applies Nature’s wisdom. For instance, Nature is a prolific repurposer. In fact, it is the original repurposer. Everything in Nature has an intentional purpose and then when that is fulfilled it serves another purpose. Barbara snags the artful use of marine debris. She repurposes what would otherwise float from shore to shore or be tossed aside to make way for a volleyball game instead of using commercialized materials.

Another aspect of Nature this artist respects is that Nature provides. “I use what Nature gives me. I don’t bend or break pieces of driftwood to suit me. I trust that Nature has given me the exact, the best pieces for each flower. This makes me think: when I am on the beach am I picking the piece, or is the piece picking me?”

There are residual benefits from strolling beaches looking for driftwood. Barbara has oodles of incredible stories that demonstrate the resilience and power of Nature. She has seen beaches change from season to season and year to year. One year a beach is covered in pebbles from the edge of the beach grass well into the water and the next year sand – the pebbles are gone replaced by sand or the pebbles are covered by sand. One year a beach is very wide and the next, due to higher water levels, it is so narrow you can barely build a sand castle on it. The width of a beach can also change from season to season. For instance, a beach is wide enough for many rows of bathers to claim a patch of it in the Spring and Summer and then in the Autumn the beach is gone as waves pushed by strong winds lap at the edge of the grass. Witnessing this makes every trip to the beach a special and worthwhile experience. Art is the reason for the trips, but astonishment and gratitude are the real outcomes.

Botanists will talk to you about flowers in terms of stigmas, anthers, and sepals and while those parts are important to Barbara’s work, she describes the “flowers” she creates in the humbling terms of Nature: distinctive, daring, and just right.

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Last updated on 07 Nov, 2017
Frequently asked questions
How do you source your materials?

Sustainability Statement About Materials

Driftwood is marine debris. It can have a role on a beach, but not typically on public beaches where animals and insects do not nest or forage due to the proximity to people. Even in a natural setting driftwood is not a significant resource because it is ephemeral - there one day and gone the next due to wind and wave action.

My scavenging practice involves selecting precisely the pieces (twigs only) I need and leaving the rest as is. I roam public beaches only as driftwood is often removed by beach management and discarded any way. I visit beaches in the spring, summer, and autumn to avoid clearing this natural resource from a single area.

Learn where the driftwood is found in another FAQ entry.

Where do you find and gather the driftwood you use?

Sourcing Materials – Driftwood

The driftwood I use has been found on various beaches on the eastern shores of Lake Huron*. I personally scavenge the beaches and pick and choose each piece (or is it the other way around…do the pieces choose me?). Any way there is a direct connection between me and the pieces I find and use.

See my Sustainability Statement About Materials for related information.

*Lake Huron is one of five fresh-water lakes that make up the Great Lakes of North America. These lakes lie along the southern boundary of the Canadian Shield.