A River Runs Through It – Nathan Fosness Custom Wood Designs

Water, when unleashed, meets little resistance and carves paths that didn’t exist before. Whether a raging sea or a forging river, the power and beauty of water are undeniable. Even the smallest current can sweep you off your feet and push you in a new direction. 

Nathan Fosness resisted the artistry that’s been flowing inside him, but it’s now swept him away to a new life of creation and creativity. 

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Nathan has always been good with his hands. He put those hands to practical work through construction and carpentry. He’d build beautiful custom fireplaces for clients and artistic pieces for friends and family, but he never considered himself an artist. Only a carpenter.

Eventually, an unsatisfied feeling boiled up inside him. He needed to release the pressure, so he signed up for a 5-month Muay Thai boot camp in Thailand. He then traveled to Bali, where he lived for 2 years.  He was inspired by the surrounding nature and woodworking skills of the locals, opening his eyes to new possibilities.

In his journey, Nathan discovered scuba diving and it unleashed his love for the water. Soon after returning from Bali, he moved to St. Pete and opened a dive shop. Like woodworking, this calmed the waters churning inside of him for a decade. But as tides ebb and flow, so did his calling grow louder once again.

When the pandemic hit, Nathan took stock of his life once more and closed his dive shop. He moved to the Keys and continued to work in the diving industry, but his woodworking hands were getting antsy. 

Shortly after moving here, Nathan discovered another force to be reckoned with: Darice Hofstein. Their instant passion for each other reawakened his artistic passion that he unknowingly kept contained for so long. He soon set up a makeshift woodworking shop outside of their home. His hands got to work, but this time, his artistry flowed through them. He worked from dawn until dusk and built a table with a river running through it.

When Darice saw his passion and the finished piece, she was amazed. “This isn’t a hobby,” she told him. “This is pure, beautiful talent. You can’t keep this to yourself.”

Nathan wasn’t convinced, but he kept building and creating. He just couldn’t stop. Looking back, he says, “I needed to create something. I needed to make art. It was a release for me, and it’s still flowing through me.”Darice finally did convince him to share his art with the world, and the response has been exactly what she expected and what Nathan underestimated.  

Custom Wood Designs by Nathan Fosness is now gaining recognition in the Keys.

His pieces are on display nearly every Sunday at the Florida Keys Farmers Market in Islamorada. In addition to his river tables, Nathan also creates eye-catching light fixtures made from driftwood, beautiful cutting boards, impressive knives with wooden handles, and countertops and bar tops that make a statement.

“Nobody walks past our booth without their eyes snapping to his light fixtures,” Darice says, “and then their eyes move down to the tables and cutting boards. They’re drawn to them and almost always end up petting them in admiration.”


Custom orders are building up as well. With 20 years of woodworking experience, Nathan can make just about anything while his artistry leads the way. He uses salvaged materials that are ethically-sourced, ensuring he only adds beauty to this world, not take it away.

To see more designs or place a custom order, visit Nathan Fosness’ booth on Sundays at the Florida Keys Flea Market or NathanFosness.com.

–  Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.


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