Our first night in Pigeon Forge, as we were settling in for the evening, we flipped the television to a local information station. The spotlight was on the arts and crafts village just north of downtown Gatlinburg. I perked up! Now that's the stuff I remember... actual people that live around here making beautiful handcrafted items. That's the kind of souvenir I wanted from this trip. Now we had our agenda for the following day.
Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get mar-air-air-ied...
Most folks around here have often heard of people eloping to Gatlinburg to get married. Hubby even suggested we do it. Evidently it's a pretty popular idea... As we traveled the road to the arts and crafts village, we passed numerous little wedding chapels tucked into the hillsides.
Hubby's favorite was a little too contemporary for me...
I preferred the charming little Chapel of Love...
The crafters' shops dotted the sides of a beautiful, winding country road. Alewine Pottery was the first stop on our agenda. Mr. Alewine had given us a tour of his pottery business the night before via the local channel.
Here is Mr. Alewine himself, making some lovely little one-piece bowl and pitcher items.
The gift shop had many assorted types of pottery created right there on the premises. I loved the intricacy of the cut-out vessels... Etching a pattern into the soft clay, portions would be removed leaving a lace-like design. They had small ones for luminaries and large ones for lamp bases. There were so many beautiful items to pick from!
I told Hubby I really wanted something that we would use. We don't have a lot of room for things that sit on side tables or shelves. And I wanted one that had his traditional maple leaf design...
He had been making his unique maple leaf pottery for decades. It was a sort of trademark. By burnishing a maple leaf into the fresh clay before dipping the piece into the glaze, it left a beautiful image on the sides of the vessels.
I knew as soon as I spotted them what I wanted to buy... Hubby loves pancakes and he makes them several times a week. I thought this bowl would be perfect to use for his pancakes, plus it would look lovely displayed on the kitchen counter...
It came with the wooden-handled mini-whisk that you saw on the chicken wall.
If you've ever wanted to try your hand at spinning a pot, stop in if you're ever in the area. For a small fee, they will help you create your own masterpiece; and then, after they've dried, glazed and fired your item (a process that takes many days), they will ship it to you at your home.
Our next stop was back toward town to a little shopping center style place. I neglected to take a picture from the outside. This one was taken from a little resting spot between the buildings.
Here, I am looking down the outdoor hall.
If you click to enlarge it, you'll see that the sign hanging on the left says "Copper Fountains". I have a wonderful picture of the artist together with the most amazing copper, waterfall fountain. It stood about shoulder height, and on top was a little building with water wheel. It reminded me of the grist mill near Norris Dam that you will see in tomorrow's post. I wish I could show it to you, but the artists are very particular about having photos taken of their work. I promised him it would be for my own viewing. I only wish I had the money to buy it. It was truly a work of art.
We visited a quilt shop that not only had some beautiful creations on display, but was filled with rows of fabric bolts; the colors and patterns carefully selected for use in their quilt projects. It was a picture of heaven to anyone that loved fabrics.
I recently posted about the honeybee earrings I purchased on my trip... This is the lady that sold them to me...
In this picture, she is wearing a lovely pendant made from a Smokey Mountain leaf. (What I probably should have bought!) She was an adorable person. I wish I could remember her name. She explained to us how the items were plated and the history of the business. She also shared information about some of the other artist in the area. There were some lovely jewelry items displayed in another area of the shop that were made by another local woman. It was miniature cross-stitch. (more like microscopic cross-stitch) The earrings and pendants were adorned with the most lovely cross-stitched patterns. It would require more patience than I have to create such tiny masterpieces! I did not take a picture of those items because that artist was not present to give me permission.
This was by far our favorite part of the whole Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg experience. If we ever do go to that region again, I would like to explore downtown Gatlinburg's craft area. We didn't have time to see everything, and we were very tired of fighting all the traffic. Instead of going back to Gatlinburg the next morning, we decided to leave the area first thing and spend time along the way wherever we got the urge.
You'll see the pictures from that tomorrow.