Tommy Bullen's Wildfire Relief Fund

$990 of $20k goal

Raised by 22 people in 4 months
Chesleigh Bullen Gore
on behalf of James Thomas Bullen
 GATLINBURG, TN


This go fund me is for my brother, Tommy Bullen, an artist and 9th generation Gatlinburg native, and his wife Jennifer Bullen. They had recently reopened our grandfather’s blacksmith shop and were using it as a pottery studio, a co-op where other artists could create and support themselves. They were just getting started and had 3 kilns, 2 wheels, 4000 lbs. of clay, 30 glazes, and all of their tools.

    The night of the fire, 4 of them were there and they loaded up their cars as much as they could with already finished pottery until the smoke was too much. Not soon after, evacuation from Gatlinburg was a necessity. Tommy and our brother Matthew frantically cleared a downed tree blocking our grandfather’s driveway to help him and his wife, Jennifer, and our mom flee to safety. We would later find out that both Tommy and Jennifer’s and our grandfather’s houses which border the National Park were spared. But what about the shop?
 
    We spent days wondering if it was still standing, combing through pictures posted by the first people to see the destruction, theorizing “was that it’s roof still standing” as we could faintly see through some trees in a picture. We had seen pictures all over the media of our childhood home burned to the ground and knew that places around their business were gone from other family that had been escorted to their properties. Then, after what felt like an eternity, the pictures came. It was gone. All of it. The building that my brother and I grew up in was unrecognizable. The place where our grandfather had made so much of the wrought iron pieces that made Gatlinburg unique, from the fences that line Downtown to the lampposts full of hand-built detail to the once iconic spiral staircase that stood in front of the Midtown Lodge in the heart of Downtown Gatlinburg, was rubble. We had grown up playing on those anvils. Nothing was spared. Unfinished pottery lay scattered everywhere amongst the debris. The walls of the kiln room had collapsed in on top of the kilns, rendering them unsalvageable. The wheels where so many of their and others’ unique arts were formed were left as charred husks. Hand-written glaze recipes born of countless hours of tinkering with materials and my brother’s often times whimsical sense of artistic adventure were ash. All the meticulously taken notes on kiln firings, glaze ingredient results, successes, and failures were gone. Complete and utter devastation.

    I am asking for help on their behalf to rebuild their studio so that one day this tragedy can be channeled into beautiful hand formed works of art. This was all so new that insurance was still being shopped for with no plan in place. They will need to start over again completely from scratch. Any and all money raised will go directly into bringing their studio back to life.
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Update 4
Posted by Chesleigh Bullen Gore
3 months ago
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Update 3
Posted by Chesleigh Bullen Gore
4 months ago
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Update 2
Posted by James Thomas Bullen
4 months ago
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Some work we were able to save. Still has ash in it from the night before the fire
Safe!
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Read a Previous Update
James Thomas Bullen
3 months ago
1
1

Made my first pieces yesterday since the fire (at home). Starting to get back to normal!

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James Thomas Bullen
4 months ago
1
1

They cleaned off the studio today. Kinda crazy how different it looks. Wonder what 2017 will bring

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James Thomas Bullen
4 months ago
1
1

Thank you everyone so far. I'm getting some great help cleaning up and rebuilding from friends and family

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Denise Tollie Beverly
4 months ago

so glad to see saved work. I found a picture that said that little bear I told you about was named "stargazer" not sure if it is your name for it. but it is very appropriate for me as well. :-) glad to see the fund is rising.

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$990 of $20k goal

Raised by 22 people in 4 months
Created December 3, 2016
Chesleigh Bullen Gore  
on behalf of James Thomas Bullen
IA
$150
In Loving Memory of Ricky Anderson
3 months ago
LM
$50
Lisa Morrison
3 months ago
$100
Anonymous
3 months ago
1
1
$5
Shauhn Rader
3 months ago
1
1
$50
Neil & Sue Fischer
3 months ago
1
1

We want to help the artisan community to rebuild!

JT
$40
Janie Thompsom
3 months ago
1
1
JF
$30
Jane Frost
3 months ago
1
1

May God bless this fundraiser and your talents.

$50
George Middlebrooks
4 months ago
1
1
$50
Debbie Hirsh
4 months ago
1
1
GC
$15
Grace Crenshaw
4 months ago
1
1
James Thomas Bullen
3 months ago
1
1

Made my first pieces yesterday since the fire (at home). Starting to get back to normal!

+ Read More
James Thomas Bullen
4 months ago
1
1

They cleaned off the studio today. Kinda crazy how different it looks. Wonder what 2017 will bring

+ Read More
James Thomas Bullen
4 months ago
1
1

Thank you everyone so far. I'm getting some great help cleaning up and rebuilding from friends and family

+ Read More
Denise Tollie Beverly
4 months ago

so glad to see saved work. I found a picture that said that little bear I told you about was named "stargazer" not sure if it is your name for it. but it is very appropriate for me as well. :-) glad to see the fund is rising.

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