The heat didn’t keep the crowds away. Neither did the brief rain. Visitors flocked to the Smoky Mountain Visitors Center in Townsend on Saturday, June 7, for the first Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival.
With more than 25 potters set up in tents behind the Visitors Center, there was plenty to see, learn and buy. Demonstrations for children and adults gave visitors a glimpse of the process of making pots -- whether functional, whimsical or just plain beautiful. Hugh Bailey was the featured artist, and he kept busy demonstrating his method of creating the sculptures that have made him popular over his 25 year career. Another special treat was Joe Frank McGee, who was demonstrating the unusual Raku firing method.
The Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival was sponsored by the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB). The festival was designed to showcase the fine pottery available in East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountain area, as well as to educate people about pottery. This festival was the first all-pottery show of its kind to be held in Tennessee. It was was made possible in part by a grant from Arts Build Communities, a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville.