For more than two centuries, the people of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains arts and crafts community have been creating attractive and useful crafts using skills that have been handed down from one generation to the next. They include almost every kind of art or craft of which you likely have ever heard, reflecting the area's rich heritage. So much so, that the town claims to have the country’s biggest group of independent artists and craftspeople. Hundreds of these one-of-a-kind crafts will be on display at two Gatlinburg craft fair shows to be held in the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
The Thanksgiving Craft Show will be held from Tuesday, November 24 through Sunday, November 29, 2015.
The Christmas Craft Show will be held from Monday, November 30 through Sunday, December 6, 2015.
The shows will feature those traditional items that never go out of style. But each year, too, the items become more varied and more innovative as the craftspeople stitch, whittle, bake, mould and paint their artistry into each unique product.
Indeed, it is safe to say that if you are tired of the same-old mass-produced imported items that are on sale in stores you will find more craft varieties and forms here than you ever thought possible. If you have a favorite type of craft,you are bound to find it here. You will also discover new kinds of crafts that will become your favorites, too, as you make your way through the hundreds of items that will be on display. Not only will you be able to view these authentic Appalachian handicrafts, but you will also be able to talk to the people who make them. You will even be able to watch some of them at work. Here you will find crafts made to be admired, to accent a home's decor and to elicit many favorable comments. Many are not only attractive, but are highly practical, too.
Here, too, you will find unusual items, some of which you thought never existed. But when you see the item you will discover that it also can become an object you will treasure. For example, how about a hand-made pet collar that will make your dog the talk of the town on your walk down the road? Or a personalized sign to post in your front yard that not only conveys your name, but also reflects your personality? Then there are old-fashioned straw brooms with handles that have been carved by hand. Oh yes, and that leather wallet that will draw comment every time to take it out to pay for your groceries.
Let's take a closer look at the kinds of crafts that can be seen at the Gatlinburg shows.
You will find many crafts that you will admire. Just to see them is an experience in itself. But you may also be tempted to take some of them back with you to grace your home or office.
Among these articles you will find wood carvings using traditional tools, glass pendants and ornaments, sculptures, and pieces of art crafted from marble. Should you not see exactly what you want, the artists will consider making one specially for you. You might, for example, be looking for a hand-carved fireplace or mantel, but the items you see on display are not the best fit for your home decor. Chances are you will be able to order one to suit the space it will occupy in your home.
Other display items include:
• Candles of all kinds that have been entirely made from beginning to end. Some are traditional, reflecting the region in which they are made. Others are novelty candles. Yet others are scented. Here’s a benefit for visitors: Most are made so that they can travel without melting.
• Among the many paintings in oil and watercolor are those that feature landscapes. They are bold, colorful and abstract. Many reflect the beauty of the nearby Smoky Mountain National Park and the Appalachian mountains. A wide range of photographs is also available, should you prefer that form of art to hang on the walls of your home.
• Quilts are always a popular attraction at the Gatlinburg craft shows. The variety is wide and, if you are a quilt lover or even a quilter yourself, you are bound to find items that complement and enhance your collection.
• Dolls come in all shapes and sizes to suit all budgets. Each is one-of-a-kind and not mass produced. You will find many to choose from to add to your doll collection.
• Many handcrafted wood products are available, including stools, bears, and birdhouses.
Having checked out items that you can put on display, you might like to turn to wearable fashions. You will find jewelry featuring birth stones using precious as well as semi-precious stones, not to speak of gold and silver, pearls and crystals. And there is also a fine display of glass jewelry, all made, of course, in Gatlinburg and not imported or mass produced.
A wide selection of items that are attractive as well as useful include pottery that is handmade and often displays colors and impressions of leaves from the local region. You will be taking home a useful piece of pottery that will bring back memories of your visit to the area and its scenic beauty.
• Handcrafting brooms is a craft that has been practiced in Gatlinburg for many generations. Here you will find not just any brooms, but ones that are attractive as well as utilitarian. In addition, canes and hiking sticks are available, many with carvings that make them special and will become a companion that will accompany you everywhere you go.
• Soaps, lotions and bath and body products contain natural ingredients, making these not only a healthier choice but also, because they are handmade, are quite unlike the store-bought varieties.
Clearly, when it comes to a Gatlinburg craft fair, Gatlinburg has it all.