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 summer days ahead. Yet, the crisp balmy air chills the elevating atmosphere.
The road winds and bends for miles through mountainous creases. A gavel 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. Rough-hewn 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 collaborative exhibition illustrating a sustainable relationship established between artisans in residence and the indellible influences of the Appalachian summer landscape.
Process in Works by Natalie Chanin and Rachel K. Garceau can be appreciated at the gallery at Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts through September 8th. Visit www.hambidge.org for additional information on programs, involvements and the center’s history.
—Art is Life Expressed— Sarah West