Regional reflections

Southern Fried Gallery offers handcrafted treasures

Amy Rochelle, owner of Southern Fried Gallery, shows off her 5-month-old daughter, Millie. Millie comes to work with Amy every day.

Amy Rochelle, owner of Southern Fried Gallery, shows off her 5-month-old daughter, Millie. Millie comes to work with Amy every day.

Residents and tourists of Townsend have a new treasure in the Trillium Cove Shopping Village called Southern Fried Gallery.

Southern Fried Gallery features regional artisans of handmade and handcrafted mediums that reflect the heritage of the area.

“I’ve always had an admiration for what people can do,” said Amy Rochelle, owner of Southern Fried Gallery. She explained that the works of the artists are at the gallery on a consignment basis.

The gallery features work that illustrates the creativity, originality and beauty of the region with a whimsical flair, said Rochelle.

Some of the whimsical “monsters” are big sellers, according to Rochelle. Krista Allison from Leicester, N.C., recycles wool sweaters and sews them into lovable stuffed monsters. She also stitches the sweaters into animals shapes. The stuffed bears are hugely popular with the tourists and locals alike.

One fan of the stuffed bears can be found in the store every day that Amy Rochelle works. Millie, the Rochelle’s 5-month-old daughter, comes to work with her mother at the gallery.

Another artist who uses repurposed parts in his work is Preston Farabow, artist and sculptor. Farabow, of Knoxville, welds NASCAR lug nuts and fashions them into beautiful and sturdy belt buckles.

Southern Fried Gallery also offers several styles of pottery, all unique and handcrafted by local, regional artisans.

“It’s not your typical pottery,” said Rochelle. “It has a whimsical feel.” The pottery, from Courtney Murphy of Asheville, “has a retro vibe,” Rochelle said.

Also popular are the wood-fired pottery pieces from Melissa Weiss, with Rochelle promising more coming to the gallery soon.

The functional and beautiful pottery of Julie Covington is microwave, oven and dishwasher safe.

Terri Friday, who is also a printmaker, uses intricate designs on the hand-carved pottery pieces that she creates.

Also proving that art can be functional are the pieces from Sassy Glass Studio in Knoxville. They work with fused glass to create plates and night lights and colorful pieces, such as hanging art panels.

Clothing and accessories can be pieces of art, too, so Rochelle features some handmade and one-of-a-kind skirts and bags from Southern Skirts. Not only are the skirts unique and beautiful, they are practical and comfortable, said Rochelle.

In every nook and corner of Southern Fried Gallery, there is something beautiful and eye-catching. For example, the original oil paintings and prints from Carrie McNutt are breathtaking. The photographs of Cades Cove and the Smoky Mountain National Park from Jeffrey Stoner are so incredible that some of them look like paintings. Also, the birdhouses that Greg Miller creates are works of art that anyone would proudly display in their yard. The birdhouses have solar panels in them so they can serve as a night lights, too.

For those who have people on the Christmas list who are difficult to shop for, Southern Fried Gallery features items that you won’t find in department stores. Jewelry can make wonderful gifts, and Artfully Tish Jewelry and Meg Leigh Design Jewelry have gorgeous pieces that would put a smile on any woman’s face. Mountain Farm Soaps are excellent gift suggestions. The soaps, which have a decorative dragonfly design pressed into them, come in a variety of scents. Mountain Farm is a sustainable lavender, blueberry and dairy goat farm in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina.

While doing last minute Christmas shopping at Southern Fried Gallery, it will be hard to resist picking up something for yourself, like posters and prints from Yee-Haw Industries. Yee-Haw creates their unique style of posters from an antique printing press. They also have T-shirts available for purchase.

In addition to glass pendants, In the Light Glassworks offers hand-blown tree ornaments that will add grace and beauty to any Christmas tree.

Southern Fried Gallery is located in the Trillium Cove Shopping Village in Townsend, and they are open Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

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