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Artists Barbara and Bob Campbell

By Mandy Haggerson

Barbara and Bob Campbell are two local artists who have traveled the world to learn and enhance their craft.

Luckily for us, they have chosen our area to manifest their inspired creations. Bob recalls from an early age observing his father who was a cabinetmaker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “My Dad taught me it was important to have independence and not work for someone else,” smiles Bob. Bob received a bachelors of science degree in engineering from Drexler University. During that time, he was in a band, the Ravens. “My friend needed to hire a band and we had heard about the Ravens. So, we made them audition for us in the drummer’s house,” recalls Barbara.

They began dating and married not too long after. “I put Bob through school,” recollects Barbara when thinking about the beginning of their partnership and 49 years of marriage. “We had my daughter when I was young, and I still made sure to go to West Chester University.” Barbara attained a bachelor of arts degree in education. She even managed to finish 2nd in her class in 4 years. “I was able to be home everyday when our son and daughter got off the bus. I had arranged my academic schedule around theirs,” informs Barbara. The Campbells left Philadelphia for the Tarheel State 30 years ago.

Bob had accepted a quality manager position at Westinghouse. Barbara began teaching English at Summit School in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. She would end up leaving her teaching position to tackle working for the CEO of then Wachovia National Bank (now Wells Fargo). “It was quite busy during the merger,” states Barbara. Subsequently, the couple put their artistic pursuits on hold until they retired. Bob laughs, “We had the name of what we wanted our shop, the Wood ‘n’ Potter to be called before we had it put together.”

Having taken a class at the Sawtooth Center, Barbara dove right into pottery. Bob’s love for creating furniture for their home flourished. He decided to take it a step further by combining his love for nature and wood and began woodturning. Different from other forms of woodworking, Bob moves the wood while a stationary tool is used to cut and shape the piece. “I use the wood from my property,” points out Bob. The married couple turned their 2-car garage into their workshop. “He has half and I have half,” explains Barbara. “Well I actually have more than half,” she chuckles. Their partnership transcends into their artwork. “I hate mixing glazes. That’s something I’ve never enjoyed doing,” reveals Barbara. Bob’s handy engineering background comes in handy for Barbara. “He is so precise, and you have to be when mixing the glazes. He does all of mine for me.”

Aside from being passionate about their own artwork, the Campbells are also dedicated to helping local artists promote their pieces and exhibit their work. One way they do so is by chairing local art festivals. On October 24th they will have over 40 local artists exhibit their work at the Fall Art Fest at the Coffee Mill in Lewisville. From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., these artists will show patrons their one-of-a-kind pieces. The Campbells enjoy their community of artists. “It’s quite different from the corporate world,” muses Barbara. If not in their workshop, the Campbells can be found participating on the board for the Crisis Control Ministry where they have volunteered for 28 years. They also enjoy taking care of all the small animals (chickens and small dogs) on their property. Bob and Barbara fondly miss their larger animals, such as their horses and llama (acquired by their daughter who went onto become a veterinarian).

Barbara and Bob will continue to add new stamps to their passports. Having seen museums all over 20 different European countries, they have no plans to slow down. “We started traveling the day after our daughter’s wedding,” grins Barbara. And when they’re not traveling abroad, they are relishing their 4 grandchildren and recounting stories of their experiences. As Pablo Picasso noted, “All children are artists.

The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up.”

Our neighbors not only figured it out, but also encourage others to continue their pursuits in the process.