The Smokies are an incredible place with a rich cultural heritage. There are so many local craftspeople that call the Smokies home. When you visit, you can see unique pieces of art, such as handmade pottery, quilts, jewelry, leather goods, furniture, and more. We’ve handpicked some local craft shops that we recommend you stop at for their originality and uniqueness.
Take the Gatlinburg Trolley and stop by to peruse custom leather works. You’ll find a wide array of items, including handbags, holsters, cartridge and regular belts, custom and off-the-wall guitar straps, Bible covers, cowhide hats, and Swarovski crystal jewelry. Doug and Becky have recently relocated their store from the Glades to 1360 E. Parkway in Gatlinburg. Most custom orders have a one-day turnaround. Bring in your handgun and they can custom-make holsters in about two hours.
Make it Magic!
Besides the magic items sold here, they also make chainsaw bears called “Stump Brothers.” With each bear comes a customized birth announcement. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to watch a stump of wood transform into a beautiful black bear as they do live demonstrations on-site.
Smoky Mountain Dulcimers
Get your hands on a beautifully crafted instrument. Mark Edelman is a veteran of the craft, having played and created dulcimers for over 35 years. He’s now made it a family tradition, bringing his son, Brad, into the “building.” Mark also sells CDs of dulcimer music and instructional DVDs. When he’s not at his shop, you might find him teaching at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. If you’re planning a wedding, he is available to play along with Tim Simek, who also performs on some of the albums.
Ogle’s Broom Shop
Now in their third generation of broom makers, Ogle’s Broom Shop has a rich family legacy in this unique craft. David Ogle’s great uncle started up his first shop in the late 1920s, making brooms from broom corn and poplar. David’s parents made brooms together and David started when he was only 13 years old. The unique brooms you see today as are close to the original as those made by David’s great uncle, hand-bound and knotted in both the front and back. If you buy one and it wears out, they’ll replace the broom corn while you wait for only $15. Besides brooms, they also sell carved canes and walking sticks.
The Chair Shop
Another Ogle family in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains has been creating for generations. The Chair Shop in Gatlinburg is a fourth-generation business, started by Wade Ogle in 1965. The roots of the shop go back into the early 1900s. Randy took over from his father, Wade, and has been creating fine quality chairs and other furniture for nearly 40 years. If you want to learn basic woodworking skills and chair seat weaving, The Chair Shop offers woodworking classes in the evening (24-hour advance notice is required).
Can’t wait to come out and visit? The Smokies are calling! Some of the craftspeople on the list do ship and have online ordering. Just contact them if you are interested in their wares. Do you know of any great shops that should be on a visiting to-do list? Let us know in the comments section below. All of the businesses mentioned above are members of the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community. Check out the brochure for more.
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