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Tennessee Pottery Festival

Tennessee Pottery Festival

By Logan Hull, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center Director of Special Events and Rentals

In its inaugural year, the Tennessee Pottery Festival is set for Saturday, May 6, in Townsend, Tennessee.  Located at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, this festival is to become a yearly tradition with approximately 15 renowned potters sharing their clay art and craft this year, and it will continue to grow each year.  This event will give pottery collectors a chance to meet the artists and purchase pieces to take home.  The selected potters for 2017 have been recommended by their peers, but the organizers plan on creating a jury for applicants for future years.

This festival was created to showcase the many different styles and varieties of handmade clay art and help support the art community by giving them an outlet to sell their goods.  The event will run from 10 am to 4 pm (rain or shine) and is located outside the Heritage Center in the Historic Village. Admission is $5 for adults (GSMHC members and non-members), and children 5 and under are free.

Featured artist, Joe Frank McKee, will hold demonstrations throughout the day.  McKee is the co-owner of the Treehouse Pottery studio in Dillsboro, NC, and the co-founder of the Western North Carolina pottery festival held in November each year.  There will also be hourly pottery giveaways for visitors.

A collection of the nation’s finest potters from New York, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee will display and sell their art for a wide range of prices.  This is a perfect time to learn from and discuss different styles and forms of pottery with the expert potters. With the unique backdrop of the Heritage Center, the equally unique pieces of art are sure to delight shoppers. 

Many different styles of pottery will be showcased and available for purchase, including wheel thrown, functional stoneware, clay sculpture, horsehair, earthenware, and Raku. The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center would also like to welcome visitors to view a new collection of Pottery Artifacts.  Discovered in Blount County, this collection was created between the Woodland and Mississippian time periods.  These Native American pieces were created and used approximately from 1600 BC until 1000 BC.

The Blount County Fire Department will be onsite cooking their “Cast Iron” lunch of mixed greens, pinto beans, cornbread, and cobbler for a donation of $10, which supports their “Coats for the Community” fundraiser.  Live music will also be on hand in the Historic Village by local Maryville College students, Maddie Carpenter and Jordan McCullough.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Richard and Joni Maples, Cades Cove Cellars, and our media sponsor, The Daily Times. For more information, visit or

Tennessee Pottery Festival
123 Cromwell Drive
Townsend, TN 37882

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