Nigel Peterken is a native Kiwi, now residing in the South of England. He is a beachcomber and artist. TOAST had the pleasure of working with him for our March store windows and below we talk to him about his craft and how it all began

Where did you source the driftwood for the TOAST windows?

Most of the small pieces were collected between Hokitika and Greymouth, near river mouths eddies form here, concentrating the smaller pieces of driftwood.

Why are these pieces so special?

Landslides are frequent in New Zealand as the Southern Alps generate high rain fall. These landslides wash timber down from the mountains into the Tasmin Sea and centuries later these timber pieces are washed up onto the remotest west coast beaches. The wood that we find is often from trees that are indigenous to New Zealand (as an isolated continent for over 80 million years there has been little crossing of species).

Why did you start working with driftwood?

I spent many childhood holidays camping by the sea, with my main task being to find suitable pieces of driftwood for the fire. Rather than building a fire I preferred to use the driftwood to make campsite furniture. Years later I moved to the UK as a Graphic Designer but when digital overtook drawing I began to look for an alternative occupation I became an artist and returned to my childhood pastime of working with driftwood.

Have you enjoyed working with TOAST?

In this line of work, it is always great to meet like minded people who appreciate the beauty and potential of using driftwood and so I enjoyed helping Jamie (of Making Noise Quietly) enable his vision for the TOAST windows.

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