Jane Campbell and her husband Mike Campbell are natives of Watauga County, NC. They live and work on part of a farm that has been in Jane’s family for over a century.
Being raised on the farm, which lies along the “Old Buffalo Trail,” Jane has seen many changes from farming with horses to farming only by a few families. Seeing families leave their farms has made her aware of how precious the “old ways” of farming and handicrafts are and how fast they are being lost.
Jane recalls two aunts who did weaving at her grandparents’ house, but they would not let Jane touch their looms. “I guess that hooked me,” Jane explains. “If you can’t have it, you want it.” Her fascination with fibers and desire to work with her hands inspired her to learn knitting from her grandmother. Then her sixth grade teacher, Florence Greene, taught the entire Green Valley sixth grade to knit, including the boys.
Years later, volunteering with Hickory Ridge Homestead was Jane’s first encounter with weaving on her own. Soon after, a neighbor gifted her with an old barn loom. After some research and help from friends, she began weaving rugs and scarves on the old loom. Over the years, she has collected several looms and has woven blankets, coverlets, fabrics, dolls, bags, and a variety of other textiles.
Spinning came later after a day-long workshop and lots of practice. Dyeing fibers soon followed. Felt making and needle felting have been some of the more recent crafts to interest her.
For nearly thirty years, Jane has had the opportunity to work with children and adults at museums, heritage day events, and fairs, and in classrooms, after school programs, and workshops. She is a member of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild, on the roster for the Mountain Arts Program, and is a member of the Bethany Lutheran Church, which started a fiber ministry in early 2011. She has been involved with the Florence Thomas Art School since early 2011, helping plan demonstrations and workshop days for children and adults. She joined the North Carolina State Fair “Village of Yesteryear” in 2010 and now provides demonstrations there every year.
Jane hopes that seeing her demonstrate these fiber skills from the past inspires people to go home and ask about their own families’ “old ways.”
Jane Campbell is available for demonstrations, presentations, workshops, and in-school residencies involving knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, and/or felt making.