You might not think that you would find trolls in the National Park but one family has been turning out trolls in the shadows of the Smokies for years. At A Troll in the Park, trolls have been the art of the day for a long time and though they are not located on Glades or Buckhorn Road anymore, they are still a part of the Great SMoky Arts and Crafts Community and they produce the famous Arsenbak Trolls that they ship out to people all over the world and of course tot he tourists that come to the area each year.
Ken Arsenbak (a Danish Born lithographer) and his family have been at this business for years. Ken was a painter by trade but he started making these trolls to give to his children and their friends in Columbus, OH when he and his family settled there. Upon his retirement, the family moved to Cosby, TN and founded the 5 Arts Studio and started making trolls for visitors to the Smokies. This was during the 70s and they were one of the crafters that helped to found what is now known as the Great SmokyArts and Crafts Community. So, since 1971, the Arsenbak Troll has been a part of the art scene here in the Smokies, made with the mythos of Europe in mind, they jumped the pond and have made a home in the nooks and crannies of the Smoky Mountains.
The Arsenbak troll is a made primarily of natural fibers. Fashioned from the base of a tree and then covered with natural fibers, the facial expressions are made from seeds and nuts and each has a curious expression… almost as if they were about to ask a question or make a comical statement about the state of things. They also all have professions. Some are doctors, some are nurses, some are carpenters and some are gardners. There is no end to the jobs that these trolls have performed and again, they are all hand made and signed on the base, signifying that they are an Arsenbak original. These trolls now cover the whole globe. north to south, east to west, they can be found in almost every country as people have gotten them for that special someone in their life. Range from the smallest at 4 inches to a massive 52 inches tall, these trolls adorn book shelves and entryways throughout polite society.
The next time you come tot he mountains, find Arsenbak’s Troll House. Find that one troll that is calling to you to take it home. Find that spot in your house for the troll to sit and let them become a part of your families story, to be handed down as a piece of art and a part of the family throughout the ages.
A Troll in the Park
2635 East Parkway