Buried Treasure in South Carolina’s Swamps – How Bishopville Art Gallery is Helping to Revitalize Downtown

This is not your grandad’s driftwood. Well, actually, it might be. “Sinker lumber” can be found in waterways all across South Carolina, and it’s just as rich in history as it is in value. For centuries, these waterways were used to float lumber downstream to mills to be processed.

Not all of the wood made it to its destination, however. Some cuts would become waterlogged and sink to the bottom of these dark-water riverbeds, where they have been preserved for hundreds of years. Since 2016, owner Alec Blalock has spearheaded a SCUBA retrieval team, as well as his collective of 50+ local artists. Together, they have been turning these unique treasures into beautiful works of art at his shop, the Swamp Log Artisans Gallery in Bishopville.

The gallery is part of the GBI Project, a revitalization effort to bring a breath of fresh air into Bishopville’s downtown shopping district.