From hands-on pot throwing to unique firings, the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival in Townsend was a great time for vendors and participants.
The festival, in its second year, was held June 5-6 at the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau in Townsend.
A growth year in participation by local and regional potters, the festival boasted approximately 38 artists and potters. In addition to the show, there were educational opportunities and a chance to learn during the festival. A children’s tent was also a hit, with youngsters getting their hands dirty to play with the clay.
Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism, said the diversity of the potters was one thing that made the festival unique. Potters were given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills as well as sell their handiwork.
The Pottery Festival was a sanctioned event of the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was hosted by the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. Admission was free
Featured potters included Peter Rose of Knoxville and Melissa Maney of Cherokee, N.C. Hugh Bailey, a potter with more than 50 years experience who makes unique animals and fanciful creatures, and Joe Frank McKee of Treehouse Pottery in Dillsboro, N.C., were also on hand to showcase their work.
Carol Ware, of Maryville led activities in the children’s tent, where young people and families learned how to work with clay.
As an added attraction, a program on Cherokee was presented on Friday night, featuring Danny Bigay and Kay Littlejohn. Native American flute music, played on flutes made by Bigay, and Cherokee stories were featured during the Cherokee program.
The festival 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. Sponsors included Highwater Clays, Highland Manor Inn, Byron’s Printing and the Townsend IGA.