Campbell’s gardens house a diverse selection of garden fountains, telling both of the popularity of his fountains and the range of materials and styles he uses. One fountain features a granite ball set atop a granite column, with a frosted glass bowl that catches the water gliding down the curved sides of the globe. Another fountain showcases an old millstone, sourced from a village along the Yangtze River in China, with water cascading out of the center and trickling into a small garden pond full of koi fish. Other fountains have an organic feel, using fieldstones that Campbell drilled through to allow a spurt of water to bubble out the top and run down the rough sides. Campbell prefers to install his pieces himself, and will often design a mini-landscape or install a pond or waterfall to complement the fountain or garden sculpture.
Campbell started experimenting with stone etching and carving while installing a stonewall and stone pillars at a client’s home in 2006. The client wanted the street address etched into the stone pillars, and Campbell decided to do it himself, though he had little etching experience. He turned to Paul White, a master woodcarver based out of East Sandwich from whom Campbell had previously learned sign carving, and White provided him with the materials and the guidance to sandblast the address into the stone. Through the same project, Campbell ended up with a large piece of bluestone left over from shaping a stone step, which he carved into his first blue heron that stands six feet tall.
Looking at Campbell’s intricately carved bluestone pieces, precise metalwork, and smoothly shaped granite fountains, it comes as a surprise to learn that he is mostly self-taught. “I pick up ideas along the way, ask questions, and pay attention, but most of what I’ve done, I’ve been self-taught,” he says. “I have been fortunate enough to work around a lot of creative people.” One of his most expensive pieces required countless hours with a mallet and chisel: carved into a three-foot-by-three-foot, green-hued slab of bluestone, is the face of the spirit of spring and rebirth, Greenman. His Cape Cod Beach Stones, sourced from local beaches, feature a carved silhouette of the Cape and text that says Cape Cod, which serve as accent pieces in both the home and garden. He also makes exquisite fine art sculptures, granite sundials, and compass roses carved onto stone discs.
Over half of Campbell’s carvings and sculptures are custom pieces, products of his clients’ ideas and his creative process. “I have a client that wanted to give his wife the sun, so that’s what we’re doing,” he says. Campbell is referring to a project in progress, a four-foot in diameter steel sun sculpture. Upon completion, the sun will hang from a tree, 30 feet in the air, and will be illuminated with hundreds of yellow lights wrapped around each sunray. “When people come to me, they’re coming to me because they know the work I do,” he says, explaining that his clients’ trust in his talent allows him artistic freedom. “A lot of it is about reading people and understanding what they want, not going overboard, but not understating the piece either.”