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Almost Home, West Virginia
Almost Home, West Virginia

Dr. Chris Gilmer, President


Once in a very rare while, you have an experience which defies being put fully into words, yet you feel compelled to try.

On Friday, at the invitation of John and Karen Denbigh, David Creel, Keith Gaskin, and I visited with internationally-acclaimed metal artist Jeff Fetty and his lovely wife Charlotte at their home and workshop in Spencer, West Virginia. If I had ever doubted it before, in that moment I found “almost home, West Virginia.”

Their retreat is set very high on one of the most prominent hills in the area, looking down over the picturesque town and the verdant landscape. We visited outside on the deck for a while where I am told the moods of the weather change from hour to hour, sometimes full sun when you can see for miles as it was during our visit, sometimes brooding and moody with clouds settled in along the hilltops.

John is a member of our Board of Governors, and he and Karen are among Jeff’s loyal patrons, both from West Virginia and from around the globe. Jeff and Charlotte were such gracious hosts, and he is recognized as among the best in the world in his field of art. Touring his workshop was a rare pleasure, viewing one-of-a-kind creations made with tools and through processes that are hundreds of years old. And Charlotte’s handmade quilts brought my grandmothers and great-grandmothers back to life in my imagination.

Here are a few photos to document our visit, but it was one of those moments only fully shared by those who were present in it.

There is so much beauty and so much talent in West Virginia. Will you share with me one of the most beautiful spots and/or one of the most talented people you know in this state, another of West Virginia’s treasures hidden right around us in plain view?

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