Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts

Our crafting heritage began more than 10,000 years ago with North America's original mountain crafter - the Cherokee - who made beautiful creations from simple, natural materials.

They strung corn beads and feathers into jewelry, wove honeysuckle vines into baskets and carved gourds and trees into decorative ceremonial masks.

Their methods were primitive but the results are truly amazing.

As native and pioneer culture blended together, settlers learned how the Cherokee used bloodroot and pokeberry to dye threads and fire clay into beautiful and functional pieces of art.

Like the Cherokee, the early settlers began crafting out of necessity, yet they created handiworks still treasured to this day for their functional artistry.  The talent and techniques needed to make musical instruments, tools, toys, and quilts were handed down from mothers to daughters, fathers to sons, resulting in a form of folk art unique to the Smokies.

You can learn some of these time-honored mountain folk skills at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, where professional artisans teach the art and craft traditions of their forefathers.

The ancient Cherokee and our pioneering ancestors created distinctive handmade arts and crafts that pass the test of time.  Today, hundreds of local artisans keep the folk art tradition alive, and classic examples of their work can be discovered in quaint shops, galleries, co-ops and studios across our backyard.

John C. Campbell Folk School

A creative learning vacation in a beautiful mountain setting.  Offering classes in craft, art, music, dance, cookie, gardening, photograph, nature studies, writing and storytelling.  Named "Best of the Road" by Rand McNally Atlas and one of the "100 Best Vacations" by National Geographic, the folk School also features a History Center, Craft Shop and nature trails.  Visit for a free course catalog or call 800-FOLK-SCH.

Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.

Founded in 1946 with the purpose of preserving and advancing Cherokee arts and crafts, the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the United States. The Cherokee people are still in touch with the pottery, basket weaving, carving, and tool-making that go back over ten thousand years. A variety of authentic and handmade Native American arts and crafts are available for purchase at Qualla Arts and Crafts. Visit our showroom to see the legendary craftsmanship of our talented artisans. To learn more visit or  

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Smoky Mountain Blueways

NEW! Digital Magazine

This issue of the Smoky Mountains Digital Magazine includes:

  • Must Do
  • Getaway to the Mountains
  • Insider Tips
  • Turn Off Your Stress at Oconaluftee Village
  • and More

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