Charles J. Dobbins
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Charles J. DobbinsAmerican, (1876–1955)
The “Blowing Rock Artist” was a prolific and unknown artistic figure in Western North Carolina for many years. It was not until 2004, when writers and researchers, including Lynne Poirier-Wilson, uncovered the artist’s real identity. Born August 12, 1876 in Mount Holly, NC, Charles J. Dobbins was known to have been a school teacher and herb healer. He and his son, Joe Dobbins both worked out of a woodshop and sold their wares from a cabin on Highway 321 until 1952. As most of the work was not signed, but rather punched with the location “Blowing Rock, NC” into it. It was not until Charles Dobbins’ grandchildren recognized the work as having been done by their grandfather that he was identified as the artist. He used materials that were readily available around him, like rhododendron, mountain laurel, hickory, willow, and oak. Dobbins, like many other Western North Carolina folk artists, created souvenirs to sell to the tourist market.
[Source: Whitney Richardson Associate Curator]
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