SEVIER COUNTY - Dozens of local artists opened their shops over the weekend to give the community a closer look at their crafts.
The second annual "Hands on Gatlinburg" event ran from Friday to Sunday and showcased more than 15 different artist. Community members take lessons in wood carving, pottery, and glassblowing as well as a number of other local art forms.
Gary “Sparky” Neumeier owns Sparky’s Glassblowing and spent the weekend passing along his skills.
"It is a shame because it's a dying art. Not just the glass blowing but all the arts it seems like," Neumeier said.
Visitors like George and Maria Harris came all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to learn from Neumeier.The couple purposefully scheduled their honeymoon around this weekend.
"I was looking on the website for events and saw the Hands on Gatlinburg event and I said that's what we want to do," George said.
Over the course of three days they tried their hands at just about everything.
"We did a clay class, a wood carving class and a painting class," he said.
They're not only making memories, they're creating their own keepsakes.
"You're not only purchasing something that is being made in the area, a memory from your trip, but you are being taught a little part of their craft to take with you. For me, it gives you a greater appreciation for what they're doing," Maria said.
For artists like Neumeier, it's not the sales he cares about. He said he's just happy to pass on his passion.
"It is so neat. When I run them through the class, when they leave, the expression on their face, the smile and everything,” Neumeier said. “It's just unbelievable and that's my reward.”
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