Christmas in June? For those hardcore gift buyers searching for unique presents all throughout the year, visitors staying in Smoky mountain cabins have a “don’t miss opportunity” to complete their holiday shopping in a single power-buying trip. Of course, many shop for retail name brands at great discounts at the multiple outlet centers throughout our area: a good choice. But don’t overlook shopping the largest community of independent artists and crafters in the country!
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is located just outside Gatlinburg off Highway 321. Since 1937, regional craftsmen have grown this small cluster of working studios into an impressive neighborhood of over 100 artisans of all types, from primitive to contemporary. A scenic, 8-mile loop road features an array of independent galleries, shops, and working studios to browse for unique, American-made products. Many artists-in-residence are present and working, those who choose to make their passion their livelihood.
A broad variety of items are created daily. All forms of media are represented: wood, stone, clay, glass, metal, and fiber. Artwork from photography, oils and watercolors are all available. You will find the expected: pottery, baskets, paintings, brooms, soaps, and candles. But there is so much more: sculpture, jewelry, leather goods, weavings and quilts, Native American and holiday items, signs, clothing, and more. To quell any distractions from hunger, homemade food gifts like honey, fudge and jams are also offered at several shops and eateries.
In just woodcrafts alone, the variety of items created is apparent : walking sticks, detailed fireplace mantels, decorative art, furniture items, musical dulcimer instruments, and chainsaw-carved bears. These examples are just the beginning of the clever inspiration found in this treasure trove of handmade items.
So come meet these outstanding regional artisans, and purchase an inexpensive local souvenir or invest in a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Or both. Can’t make it while here this summer? Come back this fall, and visit the Heritage Crafts Shows at the downtown Gatlinburg Convention Center in late November and early December, which a selection of artists attends as vendors. Also be sure to obtain a local paper brochure, which contains a complete map and descriptions of all the artist wares available. It is a vital tool in preplanning your shopping day. Visit the link www.gatlinburgcrafts.com for more information about this historic community, with videos and show details.
We at Volunteer Cabin Rentals support our local crafters’ amazing talents, and hope you will learn to do the same. Stay with us, and shop for the uncommon. You won’t be disappointed.