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Driftwood sculpture placed at Poulsbo’s Fish Park

Artist Travis Foreman used more than 500 pieces of driftwood to create this fish sculpture for Poulsbo’s Fish Park. - Megan Stephenson / Herald
Artist Travis Foreman used more than 500 pieces of driftwood to create this fish sculpture for Poulsbo’s Fish Park.
— image credit: Megan Stephenson / Herald

POULSBO — From hundreds of pieces of driftwood that float in Washington lakes and bays, artist Travis Foreman forges chairs, tables and, now, animal sculptures.

One of his pieces, an 8-foot salmon, sits atop the highest point in Poulsbo’s Fish Park. The grain of the wood works well for this fish, Foreman said, as it shimmers in the sunlight.

Poulsbo has a history of promoting public artwork. In the case of this fish, park volunteer Tom Nordlie recruited Foreman to create a unique piece for the park. Nordlie said he saw some of Foreman’s driftwood pieces at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island about six months ago.

This is the second major art installation for Fish Park. Nordlie also recruited John Frisch, who carved the large fish onto a granite rock that sits at the head of Fish Park.

Fish Park takes its name from the diverse species of fish that migrate local channels. Dogfish Creek still flows on the western side of the park, where viewing platforms give a great view of salmon journeys in the fall.

Foreman’s driftwood fish was mounted a few weeks ago with the help of the North Kitsap High School soccer team and the park’s steering committee, which holds a work day once a month. Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap funded the iron post the fish sits on.

Foreman once worked in construction. About 15 years ago he picked up a few sticks lying around he thought looked “neat.”

“It’s nice doing what I want. No one is standing over my shoulder telling me what to do,” he said.

He’s been featured in art galleries, garden shops and public and private gardens all over the Sound, from Seattle to Port Townsend. Once he began creating animal sculptures, he had several requests, including a dragon.

The South Kitsap High School graduate now lives on Bainbridge Island, where he spends about eight to 12 hours creating each piece, not including gathering the wood. He also has people drop off wood for him to use.

“I found a piece that looked like a hoof,” he said, describing the first horse he created. “I just try to make what the wood tells me to make.”

Nordlie asked Foreman to create another fish. The city recently acquired another three acres along Bond Road to expand Fish Park. Nordlie said a suspension bridge and viewing platforms will be built there.

 

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