Hancock County artist transforms driftwood boats into works of art

Hancock County artist transforms driftwood boats into works of art

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - There's no telling what you'll find at Bohemian Gallery on Main St. in Old Town Bay St. Louis.

On Friday, Kathleen Johnson was busy working on one of her unique sailboats. Johnson uses driftwood and a wide range of other materials to build the boats.

It's the ultimate in recycling, and people contribute to Kathleen's projects as she constructs the projects out in front of the gallery.

"It's a boat of sticks. It's resourced material, my customers bring me live oak. They walk down the sidewalk with an arms full of oak. I have a pile outback and we just add to the pile," said Johnson.
Kathleen re-purposes wood found on the beach, or retrieved from South Mississippi marshes and bayous, for the body of the boat.

"You can have canvass, copper, metal or string sails. I have all sorts of boats," Johnson added.
Inside Bohemian Gallery, there are sailboats made out of anything and everything. There's even one using a headboard, bed posts and old plumbing parts to make a towel rack of sorts.

Kathleen says she loves searching for materials to use.

"The best part is the scavenger hunt. I'll go to flea markets and someone has a bunch of junk. To me, it's treasure. I get pleasure out being funky," Johnson said.

Johnson grew up on the water in Australia and loved sailing. When she moved to Bay St. Louis, the creative says it felt natural to take advantage of creating art and functional pieces that would appeal to people in Coastal Mississippi.

"It's great for beach houses, it fits right in. It's a little bit of the oak trees out front, it's a little bit of the beach. It's whimsical and fun," according to Johnson.

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