A life-long resident of Arizona, Greg Campbell has been working with wood for most of his life. Working as a carpenter for 25 years, he began “turning wood” in 1978, and by 2000 was finally able to become a full-time artist.
“In many cases, it is the history of the wood that makes ... moreA life-long resident of Arizona, Greg Campbell has been working with wood for most of his life. Working as a carpenter for 25 years, he began “turning wood” in 1978, and by 2000 was finally able to become a full-time artist.
“In many cases, it is the history of the wood that makes each piece all the more interesting,” says Greg. “My favorite woods to work with are mesquite, African sumac, olive, ironwood, and carob because of their rich colors and grains.”
Greg turns all his pieces on a wood lathe using a variety of cutting tools. If the chunk of wood is dry, he turns the piece all at once. A wet log, on the other hand, is roughly shaped and hollowed and then required to be left to dry for four to eight weeks. Once the rough piece, warped and cracked, has dried, he re-trues the bowl.
Cracks or holes in the wood are not a problem. Some are left open, beautiful in their own right, while others are filled in with a variety of materials. The cracks can be filled with dried coffee grounds, for a rustic appeal, or bright nuggets of turquoise, malachite, or lapis.
Greg’s bowls are recognizable for their undeniable beauty, but they are also recognized for his signature high-gloss finish. Twelve to fourteen coats of tongue oil are applied to each piece, hand rubbed between every coat to create the final glassy appearance. More time is spent finishing each bowl in this way than in the initial cutting and hollowing.
One of Greg’s pieces was featured in the Better Homes and Garden’s Woodcrafters Magazine. He has exhibited at the Fitchburg Art Museum (Massachusetts), the Nelson Fine Arts Gallery ASU (Arizona), World Golf Hall of Fame (Florida), and Waterford Crystal (Ireland). Since 2000 the Phoenix Thunderbirds have contracted with Greg to collaborate with Waterford Crystal to design the FBR Golf Trophy since 2000. He is extensively used by Arizona State University to create gifts for their visiting dignitaries.
Greg made his passion his full-time career in 2000. One only has to see his sawdust-coated workshop to realize that, although the work can be dangerous and messy, it is beyond a doubt satisfying.