Finding Passion At 60 – Driftwood Artist Joe Treat


Finding your passion at any age is an extraordinary event to be cherished. But finding your passion at 60, close to retirement, can be incredibly refreshing and empowering.

Some people never find it, sadly. For many, retirement is a time to take up new hobbies and interests. It’s a chance to explore the things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. It can be a time of great personal growth.

If you’re not sure what you want to do with your retirement, there are a few ways to find your passion.

Among them:

  1. Go within and reflect on what you have always wanted to do and never done.
  2. Talk to your friends and family to see what they’re doing/planning in retirement. 
  3. Push your comfort zone boundaries.
  4. Look online for people’s similar experiences. 

In doing so you might come across Joe Treat’s amazing Driftwood art and inspiring story.

Joe working with Driftwood

Finding Your Passion For Driftwood Art

Joe worked as an insurance agent for 25 years and he never did anything remotely related to woodwork or art before. But the Universe made its magic and put Driftwood in his way when Joe was in his early 60s. 

On a trip to Thailand, his wife’s country of origin, he was amazed by artisans making horses out of teak and that’s how he found his passion.

After going back home, he was determined to try something totally new for him and built his first piece of art, a triceratops in his garden.

In a matter of a few hours people started stopping by wanting to buy it and, in Joe’s own words: “someone called me an artist and I haven’t been able to stop since”.

He has taken a one to one mentoring class but nothing formal. He’s totally self-taught. 

Joe’s Big Driftwood Sculptures

Joe’s house doesn’t go unnoticed in the neighborhood, he has a big spider and a scorpion on his roof.

His neighbor has a tractor and helps him move the big pieces into a 1/2 acre field next to his house where he displays his pieces.

Joe finds his driftwood in the Pacific coastline mainly, he says: “ We even get driftwood from Canada Alaska and maybe even overseas. We have small islands that are close that have a lot of driftwood”.

Unlike driftwood for other uses, Joe doesn’t clean or put any finish on his pieces, he states that salt and sand do the trick. Also that his pieces look better natural as the sun bleaches them and it looks more like animal skin.

If I add a carved basswood beak I will wax that piece” – he adds.

He doesn’t do any advertising or marketing since, in his own words: “I don’t want to lose my joy for what I’m doing”.

However, he still manages to make quite a significant amount of money by just selling his displayed sculptures and publishing them on his Facebook page.

Driftwood art has become increasingly popular and a collectible item.

Here are some of the sculptures Joe has built over the years:

Joe’s Driftwood Art In The Press

He had multiple interviews in magazines and Youtube channels. See video at the end of the article.

They were not only interested in knowing more about his amazing Driftwood art but also the fact that he only started at it so late in life.

Joe is an example and inspiration for everyone who is struggling to find meaning or purpose. Moreover if you are past midlife like he was.

Where To Get Joe’s Driftwood Art

At his house in Bow Washington, which he also calls Bowrassic Parc. If you ever pass by, he does informal tours on a daily basis. As well as school tours now and again.

For the ones who don’t live nearby, the best way to reach him is on Facebook where he posts his creations regularly.

And his website:

His art is also displayed at the following locations:

San Juan Islands Sculpture Park in Roche Harbor   

Madrona Grove Sculpture Garden in Anacortes

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