Vashti Johnson, an interior decorator and designer from Creative Designs, entered Fidelity Bank’s Independence Day competition in July. Her latest creation was featured at the bank’s Abaco location, and displayed an old-time Bahamian scene. She constructed a wooden home that contained items from as far back as the 1920s.
“The first thing that came to mind was to collect all of the antiques that you can find around The Bahamas that they used back in the day,” Johnson recalled. “Some of the things you would see there are the warmer, the cast iron, we have the one wheeler, and the washboard – a number of different things that were all collected by family members and a few friends.”
Originally from Eleuthera, Ms. Johnson said that not many young people on the island seem to know much about the antiques she selected, so she thought it would be nice to include them in her exhibit.
By looking at photos from the 1920s to 1940s, she gained her inspiration for the house and it also brought back memories for her.
“I know back in the day, the house was dilapidated and no matter how old it was every Christmas you could look forward to it being painted. So we have a fresh paint job on it.”
She also incorporated driftwood that she had fashioned into a dining table, and a vibrantly coloured painting of Bahamian girls sitting on the porch by a poinsettia tree was created by her son Craig Culmer.
However, the scene with mannequins that depicted an elderly man and woman was what stole the show.
“You know back in the day, papa would be sitting on the bench playing his accordion, and then you have mama who’s out to the clothesline – who’s always washing,” she remarked. “You know we grew up with a bunch of yard chickens in the yard, so we have the chickens there on display to help bring the whole scene together where you can see it is back in the day.”
Ms. Johnson explained that her creative flair began as a child doing house chores and she went on to begin decorating everyone’s homes. Soon, everyone began looking forward to her transformation of their surroundings. Once she graduated from high school, Ms. Johnson attended college and completed studies in interior decorating.
“I enhanced the gift that was given to me by God, so it’s just a talent from within,” Johnson said.
More of her work has been featured locally at other banking institutions, weddings and events. Vashti Johnson can be contacted at 375-9816.