Influences of terrain


By Sarah West

Dew drops cling to the spider’s web. Moss carpets stones along the riverbed. Leaves of green and brown lay upside down. I walk upon the pebbled paths. The clouds linger low in the valley between Clayton and Rabun. Newly staked rows of ripening tomatoes remind one that there are still many hot days of summer ahead. Yet, the crisp balmy air chills the elevating atmosphere.
The road winds and bends for miles through mountainous creases. A gravel drive off of Betty’s Creek Road leads the voyager to the Hambidge Center, an artisan’s sanctuary nestled within the dense forest.
Cobblestone structures rise from hilly North Georgia terrain. Roughhewn logs comprise other primitive domains. The gallery screen door clatters, and the floors speak with an amiable creak. The manmade elements seem to harmonize with the poetry of the nearby stream. Handcrafted basketry, spun textile and sculpture incarnate familiar artifacts predating the modern age.
Odes to other eras forge pathways to new understanding. Found objects and art reveal unity. An artist in residence works diligently.
She graciously describes her current project and welcomes shared collaboration from visitors amid her quilting. The magnetism of this retreat is evident in the artist’s work and energy.
Nestled here in this woodland, pioneering designs pay homage to heirloom forbearers in a collaborative exhibition illustrating a sustainable relationship established between artisans in residence and the indelible influences of the Appalachian summer landscape. Visit for additional information on programs, involvements, and weekly events.
Sarah West serves the Opelika Observer as a contributing columnist, with written works of Cultural Arts relevance and prose. She is a preservation, and conservation advocate, activist, and visual artist of American Illustration with a focus on Regional Narrative Painting. She is founder of the Sarah West Gallery of Fine Art, A Center for Cultural Arts, Smiths Station, Alabama’s premier fine arts destination. She is the appointed Official Artist to the City of Smiths Station, a Lee County syndicated columnist, the director of her art center’s Cultural Arts Outreach Initiative which partners with local schools to make the arts accessible to all. She also serves a chief curator to the City of Smiths Station, City Hall Art Galleries. She is a founding member of the Smith Station Historic Commission. She is a member of the Women’s Philanthropy Board- Cary Center, Auburn University College of Human Science. She is an elected member of the Society of Illustrators- NYC. She mentors art students of every age through weekly classes at her studio located in the heart of Smiths Station, Alabama. To learn more about her work and activism visit,


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here