10 Great Places to Get Appalachian Crafts

Floyd Country Store

It looks like Appalachian crafters are finally getting their due. This week, USA Today ran 10 Great Places to Shop at Craft Galleries, and not one, not two, but three of them are in the homeland.

That has me feeling big waves of pride for our region’s artists, and it makes me want to tell Target, Walmart and Best Buy to lump it this season. Rather than just filling my loved one’s stockings with mass-produced doo-dads, I’m going to buck the habit, sign off of Amazon, and pick up some gifts that were made in the hills and hollers of Appalachia.

In case you want to do the same, I’ve added to the list of Appalachian craft stores started by USA Today. The below shops reach from Kentucky clear to North Carolina, so if you live in the Southern mountains, it should be easy to find an outlet for handmade goods near you.

If not, don’t fret. Most have online stores, and there’s still enough time before Christmas to have your orders shipped.

In case you’re counting, this post’s title says that there will be ten great places to get Appalachian crafts, and I’ve only listed nine. It’s not because I’ve been swigging egg nog while writing this. (Though I have been swigging egg nog while writing this.)

I’d just like your help in naming number ten. Share the knowledge. Whether it’s your church craft show, a roadside stand, or an Etsy shop, what’s your favorite place to buy handmade goods from the Appalachian south?

Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, Kentucky: USA Today says, “This center is part of the legacy of Phyllis George Brown, a former Miss America and Kentucky first lady who championed state crafts. ‘Her influence was felt nationally,’ [Wendy Rosen, editor of American Style magazine] says. ‘Not every state can afford to build Disney World, but every state can afford to support its creative people.’ She recommends the wood carvings, pottery and quilts. 859-985-5448; kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov

Leather fly swatter from Floyd Country Store

Heartwood, Abingdon, Virginia: USA Today says, “Just 6 months old, this regional craft center and restaurant is convenient to Interstate 81. ‘You can get something to eat and do some great shopping as well,’ Rosen says. She suggests checking out the walking sticks, fiber art and furniture, which only large stores such as Heartwood have the space to carry. 276-492-2400; heartwoodvirginia.org

Tamarack, Beckley, West Virginia: USA Today says, “This state-run craft store was one of the first to be located at a highway rest stop and helped popularize the concept. Now many states require rest-stop shops to carry locally made merchandise. ‘Tamarack is one of the biggest that has been built in the last 30 years,’ Rosen says. ‘It has become a wonderful tourist attraction.’ You’ll find everything here from jams and jellies to wood-turned bowls. 304-256-6843; tamarackwv.com

Black Dog Salvage, Roanoke, Virginia: Don’t let the name fool you. Black Dog is more than a salvage yard. It has a 14,000 square foot marketplace overflowing with handmade objects and antiques. You can find a china hutch made from barn board right beside holiday cards printed on a 1913 letterpress. This Southwest Virginia favorite recently drew national attention when it was featured on the Nate Berkus Show. 540-343-6200; blackdogsalvage.com

Lost River Artisans Cooperative, Lost River, West Virginia: Lost River is better described as a hamlet than a town. In spite of its size, it has a first-rate center for area artists. In one renovated barn, you can buy everything from locally made jewelry to soap, take a wood carving class, learn to knit, and bone up on the area’s history in the small but thoughtfully conceived Lost River Museum. 304-897-7242; www.lostrivercraft.com

Modern pendant from Tamarack

Southern Highland Craft Guild, shops in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee: These shops are serious about Appalachian crafts. They are affiliated with the Folk Arts Center, which showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. Based in Asheville, the headquarters has live craft demonstrations and a museum of premiere crafts from the region alongside the oldest, continuously operating craft shop in the U.S. It dates to 1897. If you’re shopping any of the six locations or online, note the wide range of mediums represented. Everything from cucumber seeds to beeswax plays a role in these local masterpieces. 828-298-7928 for the headquarters shop; www.southernhighlandguild.org

Appalachian Arts Crafts Center, Norris Tennessee: Want to see the goods you’re buying while they’re still being made? Tour the studios at the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center. Quilts; pottery; and woven goods, like handbags and rugs, are made onsite and later sold in the center’s welcoming gallery. 865-494-9854; appalachianarts.net

Mountain Made, Thomas, West Virginia: Founded in the 1990s with the internet in mind, Mountain Made has a huge online shop that’s designed to help Appalachian artists reach beyond local markets. With so many choices, it’s hard to pick favorites, but be sure to check out the hand-pieced quilts from Cabin Creek Quilts. Works from this West Virginia business have landed in some of the best private collections in the country, including the one at The White House. Swing by Thomas, West Virginia to see the goods in person at Mountain Made’s historic showroom. 304-463-3355; www.mountainmade.com

Floyd Country Store, Floyd, Virginia: If you’ve been to Floyd on a Friday night, you already know this country store. It’s the heart of the town’s renowned Friday Night Jamboree, a weekly hoedown for mountain music enthusiasts. In addition to being one of the two best places to hear bluegrass (so says Country Living magazine), the Floyd Country Store also trades in locally made goods, including handmade dolls, old time toys, and oddities. Where else can you get a leather fly swatters and hear some of the best bluegrass in the nation? 540-745-4563; www.floydcountrystore.com

Reluctant Bride Card from Black Dog Salvage and Appalachia Press

 

 

 

18 Comments

  • Virginia Stallard Boggs

    I like that we have so many artisans in the Appalachians. My Mother made and gave away hundreds f Christmas ornaments and all sizes of crocheted afghans. Very few were sold of the ornaments. I just had to write a book after my sister said we could write one that would make Loretta Lynn’s book (Coal Miner’s Daughter) look sick. Am selling my book “GOTTA WRITE THAT DOWN’ at fairs and thru mail for $20.

  • Michelle Latos

    Great list of places to purchase Appalachian crafts. Here are a couple more, if someone finds themselves in the Northern area of the Appalachians!

    The Linn Pottery Studio and Gallery-1035 Chapline Street-Wheeling, WV
    http://www.linnpottery.com

    Wheeling Artisian Center-1400 Main Street-Wheelilng, WV http://artisancenter.com/

    Appalachian Gallery-270 Walnut Street-Morgantown, WV
    http://www.wvcraft.com/

    Wheeling Civic Garden Center-Oglebay Resort-Wheeling, WV

    Appalachian Gallery-

  • Lana

    Kingsport Artisan Center, Kingsport TN recently started up to give artisans 50 years and older a locale to sell a multitude of homemade items, including wood carvings, walking sticks, homemade pens, cards, baskets, jewelry, crocheted and knitted items. Additional information may be obtained by contacting the Kingsport Senior Citizen Center @ 423-392-8400 0r 423-392-8402.

  • Jo Martin

    Narrows Gift Shop & Art Gallery, 302 Main St. in Downtown Narrows (VA), is the only artisan co-operative in Giles County. Over 30 LOCAL artists, craftsmen, authors and artisans are represented by their creativity in this cozy, welcoming shop. Keeping the prices surprisingly low considering the high quality of the craftsmanship permits “us common folk” an opportunity to gift those we care about (or for our own enjoyment). The nonprofit, all-volunteer Gift Shop & Art Gallery is over 20 years old. Amazing little shop with amazing pricing on an amazing variety of amazing craftsmanship!

  • Kathy Shearer

    The non-profit Holston Mountain Artisans cooperative has been promoting the finest local craftspeople and providing a place to sell their work for 40 years in Abingdon, VA. 135 members. Located at 214 Park Street, one block from the courthouse. Open 7 days a week. Check out our Facebook page.

  • Peggy Herbert

    Check out ‘Round the Mountain’s website for lots of SWVA Artisans. They helped develop Heartwood in Abingdon, Va. & Appalachian Arts Center in Wardell, Tazewell County, VA on Rt. 19 has over 130 juried artisans. Both are well worth the trip.
    I’m juried into both with Schrinschnitte. All three have helped me develope my “craft” into artisanship. I’m very grateful. Folks are really excited about the artisans making thier way to the forefront in these beautiful mountains.

  • Uncle

    There are a few places up and down mainstreet Salem as well, including the farmers market. Come here in early September for Olde Salem Days and there are hundreds of artisans in town.

  • Eileen Sindledecker

    Our store is very popular with tourists and locals, as we have lots of hand made and home grown products! It’s a great place to get a fresh cup of coffee and browse our store with over 100 different consignor’s items to choose from. Books, pottery, food, wood products, blankets, syrup, honey…you name it, we probably have it! I love our store! Oh yeah, we have train rides, too! http://Www.southsidedepot.com

  • marklynn

    Thanks, Eileen! Your shop looks great. If you ever begin featuring products online, let me know.

  • Ed DeWhitt

    Any list of great places to shop for Appalachian Crafts has to include the Coalition for Appalachian Ministry (CAM) Craft Cabin on Highway 321 between Townsend and Wears Valley, Tennessee. Their selection is far more extensive than what is shown on their website at http://www.appalachianministry.org/store.htm.

  • Barrett

    It’s not the christmas gift, but the thought that is important,
    so have a look at your item cautiously. In general, present something you know the
    someone really wants, it can be a thing that has come up in conversation or anything that you have seen that person hunting or taking a look at.
    You’ll find lots of extra marks to be received for fun and
    creativity.

  • Anthony Raffaele

    how do I get listed on your web site as a folk artist…

    please google my name… twistmystick….

    I have lots of hand crafted items..

    Tony

  • Mark Lynn Ferguson

    Hi Anthony. This site focuses on the Appalachian South, and it looks like you’re in Mass. That said, your pieces are lovely. Keep up the great work!

  • Linda Tucker

    The State of Kentucky supports and assists its craftsmen in so very many ways through its juried Kentucky Craft Program. Here is the website of the Craft Marketing Program….. http://www.artistdirectory.ky.gov Every current juried “Kentucky Crafted” artist is listed by name and by medium with a short bio and photo gallery profile. The entries are updated annually. I think it’s wonderful to have this resource in my state!!

  • Manda Pyatt

    Another addition to your list is The Museum of Appalachia, they have a wonderful gift shop with many toys and a wide variety of books for many ages. This museum not only has artifacts from the Appalachian region but they have the stories and the people that make it meaningful.

  • melinda landes

    you mention Black Dog Salvage, but you fail to mention they have their own tv show now on either DIY or HGTV channel. I can’t remember which. Great show, and need more like them.

  • Toby Wilcher

    While you’re stopping off at the Kentucky Artisan Center, go ahead and head on into town and stop in Olde Town Berea where there are several shops selling a variety of items. And when you are done there, head on up to Main St. and check out the shops there, including the Berea College Visitor Center and Shoppe which sells student made crafts. In Berea, you will find a wealth of traditional Appalachian crafts as well as art and crafts that are less traditional, but are made by Appalachian artisans. Of course, all that shopping might make you hungry, so stop in at Main St. Cafe, Berea Coffee and Tea, or Boone Tavern to grab a bite to eat and rest your tired feet.

  • Brenda Anders

    Visit Dogwood Crafters in Dillsboro, NC near Cherokee 30 minutes, off hwy 441. Hand aid items passed down from Appalachian artisans.

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