Joshua Howard’s Driftwood Wreaths

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design
Joshua Howard’s Driftwood Wreaths

Joshua Howard is a carpenter by trade. He spends his time and expertise every day building spectacular custom homes. He creates precise and immaculate details on a very large scale. Which makes it all the more charming that he scratches his creative itch making quick and lively driftwood wreaths, of which no two are ever the same.

Josh was in his 20’s when he entered into the trades by painting houses, but quickly got bored and wanted to get away from the chemicals involved. He first stepped away from painting and into wood working when he and his father built an Alaskan Mill from chainsaws and starting making slabs. Josh’s father was an arborist with access to plenty of raw material. From there, Josh was hooked on lumber. He quickly learned framing and got into commercial carpentry, building churches, wineries, and hotels. He still dabbles — recently renovating a local hotel after serious flooding. But now he focuses on beautifully crafted homes on the coast of Northern California.

Spending time at the ocean has also always been a passion for Josh. He began fishing and free-diving at a young age. He’s always loved shelling as well. So scavenging the coast is a natural instinct. Since nearly every beach on the coast allows some amount of driftwood collecting, it became an obvious source of natural and free raw materials.

Josh’s wreaths are really special. They just have such a rustic look that is balanced with a lovely minimalistic aesthetic. That comes from featuring the driftwood unadulterated. The natural beauty of each piece of wood is unique, and yet the finishes of all those different types of wood become so similar after collectively enduring the effects of the sand and the ocean waves.

Josh doesn’t cut the driftwood he uses to make his wreaths. He keeps it as he found it. To begin, of course, he spends about an hour at the beach filling a 5 gallon bucket with driftwood. He then sets the bucket on the floor of his workshop and lays out the driftwood pieces in a circle, using the bottom of the bucket as a guide in the beginning. “It sometimes seems like you start off with a diamond or a square, but adding a couple small pieces suddenly transforms it into a circle,” says Josh.

The construction from there is very simple. He connects the pieces together with trim screws, brad nails and finish nails. If it doesn’t look how he wants, he adds more wood to give it depth. Because the process is so easy and free flowing and quick to complete- he’s quite prolific in building them. “I’m a little rough around the edges I guess, but I like making things.”

With all the wreaths he has made and Josh’s large heart for the community, his wreaths can be seen everywhere in his small town of Guerneville, CA. And while he has a couple up for sale in the fish and tackle shop on Main Street, he also has one decorating the oyster bar next door. He’s certainly given away more than he will ever sell. He says, “To sell them is good, but it’s also fun to just see someone stoked to get one.”

He enjoys the process as much as the product. His favorite part? “The wreaths are all so raw and organic. It’s not a mitered 45. Just like nature, it comes together on an amazing level”

You can find more of Josh’s wreaths and other creations on Instagram: @JoshuaHowarsd73

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