How far west? N or S? There are good knife makers all over GA, probably one right around the corner from you. Check in with the Georgia Custom Knifemakers' Guild and the Flint River Knife Club for meetings and connections. Both are great organizations for getting connected with someone near you and both are teaching groups. Lot of cross membership because we knifemakers like to hang out with each other.
If you can make it to the Blade Show the weekend of June 7-8-9, Cobb Galleria, you can meet and talk to a lot of the members and also visit the GCKGuild's and FRNClub's information booths (out on the mezzanine last year).
Also welcome to stop by and visit me at Table J-5 Main Ballroom.