The Campbell River Driftwood Club celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday at the Sybil Andrews Cottage, the historic structure it helped to preserve.
The Driftwood Club was formed after a group of residents started meeting to build ‘hobbitats,’ art creations resembling small houses made out of driftwood foraged from the shoreline.
Since the group’s inception, driftwood art has risen to prominence, explained Mary Teer, one of the club’s founders.
“Driftwood is an art, and we did it before it was a recognizable art form,” said Teer. “We like to think our club put Campbell River on the map for driftwood.”
Over the past two decades, the group has built a wide array of items, ranging in size from the smallest fridge magnets to large headboards. Some of its members also paint landscape scenes featuring what else? Driftwood on the beach.
“If we’re not building driftwood, we’re painting driftwood,” she said.
By donating its works, the group has helped generate funds for local nonprofits and organizations. These include the Maritime Heritage Centre, the Campbell River Hospice Society and the Rotary Club, to name a few.
“We call ourselves a charitable group,” she said. “That’s what we did in the beginning, and it’s something we still do.”
But the group is most proud of helping preserve the Sybil Andrews Cottage, the wood-framed structure located on the South Island Highway in Willow Point, said Teer.
The cottage, built in 1942, housed the artist Andrews and her husband from 1947 to 1992. But despite its historical significance, it was slated for destruction around 2005 as part road upgrades planned through the area.
“It was going to be a parking lot,” she said.
To save the building, the group morphed into the Sybil Andrews Heritage Society. It was successful by raising money through fundraising, advocating and partnering with the City of Campbell River and securing a grant from the BC Heritage Society.
“We saved the whole property — it’s just a beautiful little enclave now.”