Showcasing mountain gifts alongside Dillsboro’s railroad tracks
Dogwood Crafters showcases handmade treasures created by regional artisans who continue old-time Appalachian craft traditions. The shop inventory is a constantly changing variety of beautiful and fascinating items limited only to the imagination and skill of the members who make Dogwood Crafters what it is—a showcase of mountain crafts and gifts. The cooperative gallery is located in Dillsboro, a town with a long history.
The picturesque town of Dillsboro was founded when the Murphy Branch of the Southern Railroad arrived in the 1880s. Today the track is used for Great Smoky Mountains Railroad excursions with a stop along tracks that run through the middle of town. In 1976, an optimistic band of mountain artisans applied for leftover Bicentennial grant money to start a craft cooperative. An immediate success, Dogwood Crafters added to its membership and boasts 100 members.
Soon Dogwood Crafters expanded and moved to its present location on the corner of Webster and Front Streets, along the western edge of Dillsboro’s shopping district. The shop is actually three log cabins joined together to create a series of retail sales galleries, each with its own personality. The original tourist cabins were built in the 1930s by the Cannon family; today, the former Cannon’s Cottages showcase contemporary crafts in a unique setting. There, corn shuck dolls sit next to pillows. Wooden bowls, handmade quilts, and watercolors share space. Handmade soaps and woodcarvings are on view next to unique Christmas decorations and novelty birdhouses. Small gifts, handmade decorations for the home, unusual souvenirs of a trip to the mountains, and precious heirlooms to be passed along from generation-to-generation are all available at Dogwood Crafters.
In 2017, Dogwood Crafters celebrated a milestone, paying off the mortgage to own the building outright. Members celebrated by hosting a party and burning the co-op’s mortgage papers. That same afternoon, members dedicated Mary’s Garden, a beautifully landscaped corner garden honoring the late Mary Haywood Nolan, a talented crafter and tireless volunteer. Annually, Dogwood Crafters holds a quilt raffle to raise money for special projects. A committee chooses the pattern and material for the quilt, pieces it together, before it is machine quilted. Raffle tickets are sold, with the drawing each December. The shop also sells a number of cookbooks with recipes from members, as well as in-house printed cookbooks for special occasions, such as their English Tea Booklet.
For hours and information, visit their website.