By Leif Palmer
Posted on May 3, 2023
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is pretty much the center of the universe when it comes to handmade arts and crafts in the Smokies. Some 100 artisans work at a variety of shops, studios and galleries located along the community's eight-mile loop. It's where people from all over the country travel to find one-of-a-kind pieces like pottery, candles, quilts, woodwork, paintings and much more.
But this month, the community is doing a lot more than just offering its works for sale; it's giving visitors a chance to get hands-on when it comes to arts and crafts. From special events to ongoing classes, opportunities abound for all you aspiring artists and crafts people living in or visiting the Smokies to step up your game.
We'll start by telling you about Hands On Gatlinburg, which takes place this weekend, May 5 through 7, at various studios throughout the Arts & Crafts Community. In this 8th annual event, visitors can create their own pottery, jewelry, homemade soaps, wood pieces and much more, all under the tutelage of some of the country's finest artisans and crafters.
In all, some 30 classes are being offered at more than a dozen different sites. Examples of classes include watercolor painting, chair bottoming, ceramic bear making, flint knapping, jewelry making, stained glass work, basket weaving and even construction of magic tricks.
Those of you planning to attend the Hands On Event can drive directly to the Arts & Crafts Community, or if you're planning to do other things that day in the downtown area, you can find parking in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in our downtown lots. From there, just take one of the city's trolleys to the Arts & Crafts Community.
Another hands-on opportunity in the Smokies is taking place at Alewine Pottery, which is also located in the Arts & Crafts Community but is now offering pottery classes on a regular basis at their Wears Valley studio. For $150, you'll spend three hours under the guidance of an expert pottery, learning how to shape a lump of clay into a handmade treasure. The price includes firing and glazing, and they'll ship your finished product to you.
For those interested in a more immerse experience, you can sign up for a three-day workshop or even a private event like a birthday party, business function, bridesmaid party or church group. Call 865-804-8600 to learn more about any of these opportunities associated with Alewine Pottery.
Another business in the area, Art Studio of the Smokies, offers hands-on studio instruction in painting, for everyone from beginners to seasoned artists. Take lessons, host a painting party or learn more about disciplines such as photography, graphic design or digital art.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.