By Natasha Anderson
Dillsboro is widely known as a source for handmade Appalachian crafts, thanks in no small part to Dogwood Crafters, a cooperative gallery located in three converted 1930s tourist cabins in the downtown shopping area. Founded in 1976 by 12 mountain crafters, the cooperative is now shared by 85 artisans carrying on the traditions of the region’s makers as well as creating modern interpretations of some age-old favorites.
“Because we have so many travelers coming to Dillsboro, many of our shoppers like to find things that they can tuck into their suitcase or stash in the trunk of their car,” says Dogwood Crafters president Brenda Anders. “Right now, some of our most popular items are stained glass suncatchers and hickory nut dolls.”
Items for sale also include quilts; baskets made from pine needles, bark and other materials; felted items; jams, pickles and relishes; cookbooks; pottery; and hand-caned chairs and stools. Many products are made from recycled lightbulbs, doorknobs, glass jars, woolen sweaters and other objects that often end up in landfills. Non-shoppers will find plenty of room to sit and relax while their partners browse the showrooms.
“Folks can enjoy a game of checkers on our patio or walk across the railroad tracks to sit beside a rambling creek,” says Anders.
Dillsboro also has much to offer the local community. Classes and workshops are held each month at little to no cost. Topics range from bark basket construction to chair seat weaving. An annual quilt raffle raises money to promote interest in local arts and crafts. Tickets are sold all year and a drawing is held in December.
Dogwood Crafters is located at 90 Webster Street, in Dillsboro. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more at DogwoodCrafters.com.