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Serendipitous saga of ‘Sunburst’

  • Written by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor

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“Sunburst” in its natural setting before being sliced off by a road crew. Photo courtesy of Dan Cautrell
“Serendipity” – a happy accident or pleasant surprise, specifically the accident of finding something good or useful without specifically searching for it – Wikipedia


DUVALL–The story of “Sunburst,” one of local artist Dan Cautrell’s creative roadside tree end carvings, may or may not be serendipitous, but it certainly makes for an intriguing tale.

The saga began when the carving was unceremoniously sliced off in early July by an SR 203 road crew and left on the railing.

And that’s when all who were on Dan’s Facebook page at the time could read about the sequence of events as they were happening – and also take part.

First, the carving was spotted by a Valley resident who happened to be one of Dan’s Facebook “friends.” He immediately posted the sighting. Another “friend” was in a car that was driving right past it when the posting went up. He retrieved the carving and returned it to Dan.

But once Dan had it back he wasn’t sure what to do with it, musing about its future on the social media page.

After some thinking and input from others he decided on doing some restoration work on it, then auctioning it off with the proceeds going to Carnation Hopelink.

Bidding on the artwork was immediate, starting around $50. He decided to display it at his booth at the SandBlast Festival so folks could bid on it all weekend. At the end of the event on Sunday evening, the winning bidder took it home for a price of $450.

Because these particular carvings (what he calls his Offerings to the Wind project) are roadside art, people have to look quickly to even see the pieces as they are driving by, so it was a treat for residents to see one of them close up.

Dan began doing the “public art” carvings after the historic windstorm a few years ago. A lot of damage was done by falling trees and when some of the trees were cut back from the roads, he started doing the design work on the ends, partly, he says, to commemorate the event and recognize the response to it.

Dan noted that Sunburst was actually the second carving to be cut off at the same location, but doesn’t know what happened to the first (Spiral).

He plans on putting another installation at the same site in the near future.

And that is how, through community action and an artist’s generosity, an “Offering to the Wind” artpiece became an offering to Hopelink.

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