For more than 30 years, Billy Welch has been carrying on Cherokee craft forms, particularly woodcarving. Today, his workshop can be found at Hunting Boy Woodcarving in the Snowbird section of the Qualla Boundary, just outside Robbinsville. In addition to being Billy’s workshop, the space also functions as a gallery of authentic Cherokee craft and gifts. Billy is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and a member of the Bird clan. He is also a member of Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, a juried guild of Cherokee’s best artisans. With work in the Smithsonian Museum, Billy is especially known for carving clan masks and booger masks, He also makes pottery, builds reed flutes, and produces beadwork. With an eye toward continuing traditions, he teaches Cherokee basketmaking, pottery, and flute making at Robbinsville High School.
Visitors to Hunting Boy Woodcarving can find Billy at work carving a mask with chisels and gouges or carving a bear or an eagle with a chainsaw, all with wood from the surrounding forests. In the spirit of his ancestors, he is happy to demonstrate his flutes by playing melodies that follow the profile of the mountains.
The shop features Billy’s work as well as the work of other Cherokee artisans. Available for purchase are baskets, pottery, jewelry, stickballs, carvings, beadwork, and other gifts.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 am-5 pm