Smoky Mountain Woodturners
It’s easy to see the beauty and artistry of woodturning when you’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful wooded country in America. For over 25 years, the Smoky Mountain Woodturners have been meeting in East Tennessee surrounded by native trees like sugar maple, black walnut, eastern red cedar, dogwood and boxelder.
The club was founded in 1993 and originally met at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. For several years, the club split time between Gatlinburg and Knoxville, Tennessee. Eventually the club moved to Knoxville permanently and has called the Knoxville Woodcraft store home for well over 10 years. Located within a 90-minute drive to the Arrowmont school, a world-class teaching facility, and the energetic artist’s community of Gatlinburg, the legacy of wood artistry in the area is strong. Several early members have gone on to become prominent wood artists at the national level including founding member Ralph Watts, Member Emeritus. Many regional and local artists are or have been members of our club including early members Jacki and Janis Proffit, known for their intricately textured and burned items. And, of course, we boast of many enthusiastic hobbyists who are learning, teaching and experimenting with the wonderful world of woodturning. In recent years, we have had the honor of hosting world-class turners such as David Ellsworth, Mark Gardner, Chris Ramsey, John Jordan, John Lucas and Frank Penta for demonstrations and hands-on workshops.
SMWTS is a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners and encourages all club members to join our national organization (AAW). AAW membership provides access to a wide range of member resources and is a great value.
SMWTS actively supports community charity events. Each year, the members of the club turn Christmas ornaments to be auctioned off at Knoxville’s annual Fantasy of Trees with all proceeds going to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Turned ornaments typically raise as much as $1500-$2000 for Children’s Hospital.
Club members also turn and donate Beads of Courage boxes to Children's Hospital patients as well as Wig Stands for adult cancer patients.
We also participate in the Woodcraft-sponsored Turn for the Troops by turning pens for the US military stationed around the world.
SMWTS has an ongoing volunteer relationship with Wears Valley Ranch in Sevierville, TN. Club members provide woodturning instruction and skill development to students as well as other volunteer work at the ranch. Wears Valley Ranch exists to provide Christian homes and Christian education for children from difficult situations. Our students are typically described as “deserving young people with a problem in the home, not of their own making.” The problems vary widely. The situation may involve a single parent who genuinely wants to care for his or her own child, but can’t because of demanding work schedules. It may involve a grandparent’s concern for a child whose parent is in trouble with drugs (most often alcohol). It may involve a case of neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse
We thank those who have come before us who have made the Smoky Mountain Woodturners a vibrant and exciting artistic community!