Made in Knoxville

Knoxville is The Maker City

At least once a day, a visitor in Knoxville says, “I had no idea!” Their surprise may be in reference to our amazing outdoor experiences in the Urban Wilderness or the fact that we’re home to world’s largest Rubik’s cube (a gift from Hungary after the 1982 World’s Fair), but sometimes it’s about the business and industry here.

In 2016, Etsy chose Knoxville as one of 13 cities to host one of their first Maker City Summits. The intention was to pair, “strong municipalities that value entrepreneurship, sustainability, and responsible manufacturing with the creative and innovative spirit of the Etsy community . . . developing empowered micro-businesses, strengthened local economies, and collective commitments to change how we buy, sell and create goods.” 

So what does this mean to visitors?

This “maker mentality” produces a wealth of experiences for visitors, some unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.

Take for example, Pretentious Glass Co., one of the top-selling Etsy stores in the world. Only here, in Knoxville’s historic Old City can you watch glass blowers creating and selling artisan beer glasses, the same ones you’ll find right next door at Pretentious Beer Co. Side note: the craft brew industry is another aspect of our growing Maker City.

Devoted maker spaces can be found within The Central Collective, Knox Makers and other popular locales.  Here, entrepreneurs including photographers, artists, and bakers like Dale’s Fried Pies, collaborate and create. Additionally, the artisans at Ironwood Studios work in each of their name-sake’s materials under one roof next to the collective pottery studio, Mighty Mud.

Surprised? Don’t be. Knoxville is doing what it’s always done – utilizing its artists, artisans and manufacturers to tell the story of a genuinely creative city. Whether you tour Bush’s Visitor Center just up the road in Dandridge or spend an afternoon watching Matthew Cummings and his fellow artisans blowing glass at Pretentious Glass Co., you will come away with an appreciation for this city and its makers. Visit to learn more.

Featured in Popular Mechanics Magazine

The Maker City Tour

See and learn more about Knoxville makers on The Maker City Tour

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