By Leif Palmer
For arts and crafts lovers across the nation, the Great Smoky Mountains have always been a popular shopping destination. Home to one of the largest communities of artisans in the country, the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas offer a delightful variety of one-of-a-kind gifts, gorgeous artwork, and handicrafts that have their roots in centuries past.
You'll find more than 100 of the area's finest artists all under one roof at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The minute you walk through the door, you'll gain an appreciation for the rich history these artisans represent. You'll watch as they create objects of extraordinary beauty, having learned their skills through years of practice - and sometimes at the knee of a parent or grandparent.
The patience and skill required to craft a vibrant stained-glass lamp is immediately apparent as you watch the glasscutter file each piece into the perfect shape. The years of practice the quilter has invested shines through in her tiny, uniform stitches. From jewelry makers to blacksmiths, each artist brings a love for his or her craft, and years of dedication to the show, and it's obvious as you walk the aisles.
Each artist not only has his or her crafts on display, but many booths feature demonstrations of various techniques. If you've ever wondered what it really takes to create a lovely pottery bowl, or how many hours of work are involved in the making of a hand-carved figurine, you'll love the Smoky Mountain Easter Arts & Crafts Show.
For instance, the Easter Arts & Crafts Show is one of the few places you can observe and purchase scrimshaw. This ancient art form began with American sailors aboard whaling ships carving intricate patterns and pictures onto pieces of whalebone. Today, artists devoted to this tradition have taken over, engraving on various types of bone. This truly American art is rare, but available at the Easter Arts & Crafts Show.
This is where tradition lives on in the work of craftsmen, some of whom are now 2nd or 3rd generation. What are you waiting for? Grab your girlfriends, pack up the family or set up a church outing and head to Gatlinburg soon.
If you and your friends are looking for something a little different for your annual shopping weekend, Gatlinburg should be tops on your list. Nowhere will you find the unique combination of one-of-a-kind treasures all under one roof.
The event takes place in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg, so when you're ready for a break, it's a short walk to both world-class restaurants and quaint diners. At the end of the day, a secluded cabin rental is just the place to kick back, relax, and show off the treasures you found on your shopping spree.
The Smoky Mountain Easter Arts & Crafts Show is not only a great getaway for you and your friends, but it also makes a fantastic family trip as well. Imagine bringing several generations together to enjoy this traditional culture. Crafting techniques that have been in use for hundreds of years will fascinate younger family members. Older generations will love the opportunity to share a bit of history with their family. It might even become an annual tradition for the whole family.
Time was, the arts and crafts fairs were held only at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, though, you can enjoy this charming event in spring, when the Smokies are at their most beautiful, the air is turning warmer, and everyone is in the mood for a vacation after a long, cold winter.
Why not come and join us?
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in east Tennessee. 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.