Columbia, SC (WLTX) Nestled in the soft mud of South Carolina rivers and swamps lay treasure that Alec Blalock likes to hunt.
Using underwater maps, permits, a good sense of history, and scuba gear, the treasure that Blalock is looking for is wood, felled trees to be more specific.
Old growth trees, over thousands of years old, cut in the 1800s and destined for homes and factories being built in North.
Logs, cut by hand and then floated down river to saw mills.
Blalock is hunting the logs that sunk, usually the densest. The wood is called “sinker wood” and it’s prized for its unusual and varying patina.
Mostly cypress and pine with the occasional cherry or oak, the wood’s color is not it’s only appeal. It’s durability and resistance to rot and bugs make it perfect for building projects and of course, art.
After Blalock harvests the trees and dries them out, some are cut into boards for building projects and renovations and some reserved for the artists at his Bishopville gallery.
The Swamp Log Artisans Gallery is located on Main street in downtown Bishopville. Here you can find sinker wood cut for use as shelves or boards, but mostly what you find is art.
From bowls, to ornaments, to tables and lamps the list goes on. Beautiful things made with sinker wood.
If you’d like to see all of this for yourself and talk to Blalock about how he finds the wood and he’ll be happy to tell you the history of each piece of wood used in the gallery. He can tell you where it was harvested and sometimes who harvested it.
The shop is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from Noon-5pm and Saturdays from 10-5pm. On December 5th a meet and greet with the artists will be from 10am-5pm.
You can go to their website at http://www.swamplogartisans.com/