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Charles & Sheryl Donaldson / Cephas Designs
While traveling the continents of the world conducting field studies of various cultures' arts and crafts, I had the opportunity...

 

423 CR 48
Athens, TN 37303
423-336-3627

Jim McGie

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Appalachian Heirlooms

Media: Wood

Jim McGie is a one-of-a-kind Appalachian Craftsman who creates one-of-a-kind traditional family heirlooms.

Jim is one of only a handful of craftsmen who still work by the old ways of the Smoky Mountain woodworker: using only traditional hand tools. Sitting in one of his rockers is like sitting in a piece of Smoky Mountain history. Jim's award-winning rockers are the centerpiece of many collections, including the permanent collection of the Tennessee State Museum . Jim's work is prized for the unique blend of art and utility which enriches the lives of those who own it and will be cherished by generations to come. Each piece is signed and dated and has a hand-rubbed finish. Each rocker is assigned an identification number as well. Jim also teaches a variety of workshops, keeping alive the old ways of the Appalachian craftsman, emphasizing both traditional woodworking techniques and the creative spirit of country living. The best teachers have always been those in love with their work, and Jim is certainly one of those people. Among the workshops he offers are Chair Making, Shaving Horse Construction, Hewing Old-Time Dough Bowls, Spoon Carving, Poplar Bark Basket Making, and Hickory Bark Weaving. These are not just classes, they are experiences. Jim's story is just as interesting as the rockers he makes. He lived for many years in a horse-and-buggy community without electricity in the hills of Tennessee . Here, he and his wife and eight children shared a life of simplicity and high values, contented while Jim developed his skills as a self-taught heritage artist who makes wonderful things with his hands. In 2000 the community relocated, but Jim and his family remained. He still welcomes visitors to his home, where the aroma of fresh-baked bread drifts from the wood cookstove, and where a visit to his workshop is a chance to glimpse the history of the Smoky Mountain woodworker.