Red Feather Lakes sculptor gives new life to driftwood

PHOTO BY FREDDY BACA A finished eagle driftwood sclupture made by Fred Baca of Red Feather Lakes

Matt Bartmann

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“I love living in the mountains, seeing deer and moose in my yard. It’s very quiet up here. And everyone is very nice and friendly,” says Fred Baca of Red Feather Lakes. Since retiring from his work as a carpenter and “Jack of all trades,” Baca has spent his time making art. Most recently, he’s been making driftwood sculptures.

He collects pieces of driftwood from the Poudre River, among other places. “I saw some pictures of driftwood art, so I thought I would try and make some. So here I am, making sculptures,” says Baca, who has always enjoyed working with wood. He is thrilled that people who have seen his sculptures find them beautiful.

Each piece of driftwood must be chosen, then individually fashioned to look like the part of the animal it is going to become. “Each eagle takes about two weeks, at four to five hours a day,” he estimates. A piece of wood may have to look like a feather, a head, a beak or a talon, in the case of his eagle creations.

Baca also makes horse head sculptures. “The horse heads take a lot of time to match the pieces, so they will fit together to look real,” he says. He plans to soon make some deer and wolf sculptures.

The individual pieces of wood are put together, one by one, and secured using a hot glue gun. Baca hand-paints the sculptures after final assembly. When asked if he had had any training, Baca laughs. “No one has taught me to do this stuff.” He figured out every step on his own.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FREDDY BACA, JR. Fred Baca glues a piece of driftwood to one of his “horse head” sculptures with a hot glue gun.

Each piece is one of a kind and completely handmade. Baca also makes reclaimed barnwood picture frames and the mounts he uses for his sculptures.

Natural materials have always been part of his art, and antlers are another favorite. He’s constructed lamps and chandeliers from them, and creates knife handles from deer and elk antlers. Baca used to be a big game hunter, which led to his antler collection, but his back no longer allows him to do that.

Fred Baca welcomes visitors to come see his work at his home in Red Feather Lakes. “I would prefer people to come and see my work in person,” he says, noting that shipping would be difficult. “I don’t want to break any of them!” He is also happy to discuss special orders for designs. He can be reached by telephone at (970) 581-3943.

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