Wuts finds passion in creating his own kayaks, wins Kenmore Art Show

Kirkland resident Joe Wuts won the Kenmore Art Show with this kayak he designed and created.  - contributed photo
Kirkland resident Joe Wuts won the Kenmore Art Show with this kayak he designed and created.
— image credit: contributed photo

Kirkland resident Joe Wuts has turned a personal hobby into award-winning art, winning best of show at the 16th Annual Kenmore Art Show for his design of a wooden kayak.

For Wuts, a home repair contractor, building kayaks has been a personal passion and a way to offer more artistry through the creation’s design. His main inspiration for woodworking came from his father, a Dutch immigrant from Holland.

“He was a real crafty kind of guy, so I just followed in his path,” Wuts said. “My goal was to make something that really stood out and someone wouldn’t just walk by. It would catch their eye.”

The kayak that Wuts entered in the contest is the 11th he has built.

Generally, he said it takes about a year to build one from scratch. When he’s finished, he either keeps them or sells them to friends. Although he had tried to integrate art into his other kayaks, this one was created with the intention of being a piece of art as much as a kayak. Built with a Redfish design, the exterior and seats are covered with dozens and dozens of rounds, which are made from the limbs of the fir and cedar trees on his property. After drying them out, he cuts them to about a quarter of an inch, slices them with a table or band saw, and then adds them into the exterior. Wuts said that when he takes them out in the water he gets lots of impressed looks from people.

“We get onto the ferry landing and people would crowd up around the boat and just look at how wonderful they are,” he said. “That kind of got me going. They really look fine when they’re out in the wilderness. That’s the cool part about it.”

Originally, Wuts had no intention of entering his kayak in the Kenmore Art Show. It was done as an afterthought at the suggestion of his wife, Debra, while they were entering other artwork into the competition.

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