Tag Archives: Charleston

Southern Makers: Black Swamp

Up next in the O&P Southern Makers Series: Katie Thompson of Black Swamp.

Cypress Spiral Cuff from Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

I was fortunate enough to stumble across Katie Thompson’s work on Instagram, and I couldn’t get her spiral cuff bracelets out of my head.  Fortunately for me, Katie made me a few to choose from and sent one Cypress cuff (above) and a couple Black Walnut Cuffs (below) my way.  I couldn’t resist photographing them on another Low Country staple: a handcrafted Sweetgrass basket.  The two really make a perfect pairing.

Black Walnut Spiral Cuffs from Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

Just outside of Charleston, Katie and her husband Joseph live on the edge of Black Swamp, where together they design and build furniture at Joseph Thompson Woodworks.  Katie helps design the furniture and Joseph brings their visions to life.  In the midst of all this wood working, Katie found a way to breathe new life into the exquisite wood shavings left on the floor.  And so, Black Swamp Co. was born.  When I asked Katie about owning her own business she promptly replied, “I get to do what I love with the person I love!”  And each piece of jewelry from Black Swamp is a little labor of love.

Black Walnut Bracelet, Handmade by Katie Thompson at Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

My mom told me a story about how Black Walnut is so valuable, that once she went on vacation, and she came home to find that a neighboring, enormous Black Walnut tree had been felled in her absence.  Tree theft!  You can understand why though, when you look at how beautiful these Black Walnut cuffs are.  Katie used sapwood for these cuffs, which explains the color variation.

Two Black Walnut Cuff Bracelets, Handmade Outside Charleston, South Carolina by Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

The Cypress cuff is really special.  A sunken Cypress log washed up out of the swamp behind Katie and Joseph’s house, as if it knew it was destined for more than an eternity in the muck and mire.    After aging and drying out for three years, mine (below) was the first bracelet Katie made with it.

Sunken Cypress is so special because it is old growth Cypress.  Felled up to a century ago, the trees were easily 700 years old at that time.  When these trees were logged in and around the swamps of the Southeast, they were floated downriver to sawmills.  However, many of these logs sunk and were subsequently entombed in the beds of the rivers and swamps for the next century.  “Deadheaders” and “River Loggers” often dive for the submerged old growth Cypress logs and salvage them.  Katie was lucky enough to have one show up at her back door.  And I am lucky enough to have a small piece of it.

Sunken Pecky Cypress Bracelet from Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

To make the cuffs, Katie uses an ancient technique of steaming the wood, bending it around a form, then letting it dry for 24 hours.  She seals all her wooden jewelry with a water-proof and UV-proof sealant (although she doesn’t recommend wearing any of her pieces to the beach).

Black Walnut Spiral Cuff Bracelet by Black Swamp Co  | Oysters & Pearls

Katie also makes earrings and necklaces from their wood shop’s wood shavings.  Remember when I spotted her at the High Wire Distillery in Charleston?


Turns out, High Wire is owned by Katie’s family – it’s such a small world!  If you’re in South Carolina, you can find Black Swamp at these fine retailers:

Canvas Salon – Charleston, SC

High Wire Distillery – Charleston, SC

SpaceCraft Studios – Charleston, SC

Cavortress – Mount Pleasant, SC

But thanks to the internet, we can all have a little piece of Black Swamp Co. to call our own.

Handmade Cypress Spiral Cuff by Katie Thompson at Black Swamp Co | Oysters & Pearls

See more of Katie and Joseph’s work at: www.jwtwoodworks.com

Read more from Katie herself on her blog: www.ktthompson.com

And shop Black Swamp Co. for yourself on her website: www.blackswamp.co

Until Next Time

Friday and Avocado Toast

Happy Friday!! TGIF, for realz, y’all.   It’s been a long week.

Drink Up


Today’s post is going to be sort of random (clearly – you read the title), so bear with me.

ALERT!  Sunday is Mother’s Day!  In case you’re buying for someone special (I’m a mom to two fur babies, right Wheat?), I thought I’d share this PSA:

Christina Jervey Jewelry Mother's Day Sale | Oysters & Pearls

I’m in love with my bangle from Christina Jervey, and I hope to add many more of her classic pieces to my collection in the coming years.  I especially adore that they’re handmade by Christina in Charleston, South Carolina!  (PS: this isn’t sponsored, but I’m completely open to any sponsorships or promotions Christina wants to shoot my way… just sayin’.)

Our Bainbridge bees were super ornery yesterday.  :(  Wheat and I both got stung for no apparent reason.  But that didn’t stop me from watching them drink from the bird bath.  They will always fascinate me.

Honey Bee Drinking from Bird Bath | Oysters & Pearls

Next to the bird bath, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Garden Flag Stand on Amazon.  Totally necessary for this precious garden flag.

Garden Flag, Benefits the Bainbridge Humane Society | Oysters & PearlsHere’s the story on the flag: local animal-lover Jordan Harris passed away last year in a tragic car accident, along with two of her friends.  It’s been pretty rough on the entire town, but her family has asked that in lieu of flowers, family and friends donate to the Bainbridge Humane Society.  Even a year later,  her family had this painting that Jordan did in high school turned into garden flags and donated those to the Humane Society for us to sell and raise money.  I’m so proud to finally have it hanging in our yard.  If you’d like a garden flag in honor of Jordan and to benefit the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society, please visit our website.

Wednesday afternoon I spent some time with the lovely and sweet Marina at Anhaica Bagworks headquarters down in Tallahassee.  Look for her waxed canvas badassery (my favorite made-up word) on the blog here soon, and in the mean time pop over to her website, shop, read her blog, and do some  general ogle-ing.

Anhaica Bagworks, Handmade in Tallahassee, Florida | Oysters & Pearls

Finally, I’m going to share my absolute favorite breakfast/snack/light supper with y’all.  I’m hooked on avocado toast.

Avocado Toast | Oysters & Pearls

Avocado Toast Recipe
serves 1


– 1 piece of bread
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 ripe avocado
– 2 teaspoons or so (a splash) of lemon juice, or to taste
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– red pepper flakes, to taste


Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Drizzle bread with olive oil and toast until crunchy.  In the mean time, smash half an avocado with lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl with a fork.  When toast is toasted to desired toastiness, schmear it with the avocado mixture and top with red pepper flakes.

Enjoy.  So good, and so good for ya.

Avocado Toast with Heartwood Forge Knife and Southern Restoration Furniture Cutting Board | Oysters & Pearls

I happen to think it looks particular awesome on my Southern Restoration tobacco slat cutting board next to my Heartwood Forge knife

And finally, because you can never have enough kitty pictures in one post, I give you lazy Wallace.

Wallace Lounging | Oysters & Pearls

Wallace, Close Up | Oysters & Pearls

And one last thought that gets me through some hard days, plus one of my favorite verses:

Preach a Sermon with your Life | Oysters & Pearls

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16

Until Next Time

Mid-Week Muse: Scenes from Charleston

Today I’m linking up with Ann Elliott and Pampers & Pearls for their Mid Week Muse link party.  Granted, I’m not a fashion blog, but these are some images I snapped in Charleston last week that are inspiring me right now (and getting me through this week!).


Colorful Home in Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Home in Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Ashley Avenue Home in Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Dog Walking, Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Catching Blue Crabs in Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Blue Crab, Charleston, South Carolina | Oysters & Pearls

Wanna join in on the fun?   Instagram, tweet, or blog and use #midweekmuse to share how you’re getting inspired on hump day.

Ann Elliott

Until Next Time