Monday Sept 28th Gatlinburg

We started off the day visiting the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community of Gatlinburg. The largest group of independent artisans in North America. This historic 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. Established in 1937, these artisans whittle, paint, sew, cast, weave and carve to create original collectibles such as candles, baskets, quilts, brooms, pottery, jewelry, dolls, ceramics, scrimshaw, silver smithing, leather, stained glass, wearable fashions, fine photography, frameable art, oils and watercolors, also lodging, restaurants, cafés, tea room, soda fountain and candy shops.
While driving around this 8 mile loop, you will find various shops to stop and spend time at. We stopped at several while making our way around the loop. There were well over 100 various stores and shops along the loop route. This was the 3rd time that Veronica and I had been there and we always stop off at one of our favorite pottery stores... Alewine Pottery . each year that we have stopped there, we end up purchasing at least one item. Everything there is handmade and at the bottom of each piece is the name of the pottery company and the year the piece was created. This year I purchased a rather large coffee/soup mug. I really liked the colors and the mug was large in size...around 6-7" tall easily. Just right for those cold days when you want a large cup of coffee or some hot soup. The mug is dishwasher and microwave safe too.

We stopped by an area that had several crafting stores in it and a restaurant. After eating, I needed to use the bathroom before we left the area to head to craft stores on the loop. Just as I was turning to head into the bathroom, I looked off to the side and saw a little store with some handmade artistic pieces being displayed outside. After looking at the pieces quickly, I knew instantly that I had to take Veronica into this shop before we left the area. Upon entering this little store, we knew that we had stumbled onto something and someone special. The owner and artistic crafter goes by the name of Michelle Monet. Michelle is a mixed media artist and she does all of her work in a little 4' x 3' area...those are only guestimates but it was a real tiny workplace. The rest of the shop is used to display and sell her artwork. We were not only impressed by Michelles artwork but by her story. Here is an excerpt from Michelles web site:

Michelle Monet is a self-taught artist who discovered her love for visual art in 1996 quite by accident while doodling in a café, on the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
Up until that point she had made her living as a vocalist, composer, guitarist and impersonator appearing worldwide in a variety of concert halls, showrooms and production stages.
She was also noted for her critically acclaimed vocal "Tribute to Barbra Streisand" in theatres and showrooms from Las Vegas to New York, Russia to South Africa. Michelle's newest art medium is something that evolved from her years of drawing and collage work. Her new whimsical 3d polymer clay creations are made with polymer clays and 'mixed media". Anything and everything that her imagination thinks of she believes can be incorporated in her art. The sky's the limit!
The process begins with Michelle's drawings or 'doodle sketches" (in pencil or pen), ....then she adds a mixture of polymer clays on top of her drawing. Then she bakes her creations in a special oven and then finally she adds embellishments and quotations to make her final piece.
She loves the process of finding interesting, funny, sometimes serious or inspirational quotes to her art, which means she never gets bored and never duplicates any of her artwork. Each piece is always an original. Below are a couple of items that Veronica purchased while we were in Michelles store. Here are some web sites about this very special talent.... Michelle Monet and here are some samples of her work... Michelles Artwork and an article written about Michelle along with info on Michelles' musical background . While in the store, Michelle was playing music from various performers, including Barbra Streisand and Michelle has a fantastic voice. I was very glad that we did not miss out on the opportunity in meeting Michelle Monet.

While walking the main street in Gatlinburg, I found a shop that was frying the largest corndogs that I have ever seen. They were at least 12 inches long. I tried to take a photo of them but because of the sun and glare, the photo does not truly depict the size of these beauties.
I have heard about these places before but this was the first time that I have ever seen one and actually gone into one. So what is this special is called an Oxygen Bar. For a price, a person can breathe air that is infused with a flavor. For $7.50 you can suck on a tube that has both oxygen and the flavor of your choice. The lady running this place was kind enough to let me photograph the "bar". To see the "flavors" offered, you can click on the photo to get a closeup.

This store also sold the following items which I thought were great.

There were so many sights to see and photograph, like the one below:

We also went into a store that sold many items that I had never seen before so I took a few photos to share with you.

I got my "hillbilly goof on" while walking the streets of Gatlinburg.

Veronica found her wild side too...

There we also some nice fountains in the area and other Fall decorations set up in the area.

Here are some videos that I took while in Gatlinburg. Enjoy.....

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