In the summer months, Campbell and a group of friends—with quite a few artisans and craftsmen in the mix—rendezvous weekly at Sandy Neck for an ocean-side dinner and bonfire. One regular at the Wednesday night gatherings is Michael Magyar, glassblower and owner of The Glass Studio on Cape Cod in Sandwich. Campbell and Magyar have been friends for years, and Campbell often asks Magyar to craft glasswork to accent various sculptures.
During one beach night in 2009, they made plans to do a yearlong project together. Aptly titled Fusion 12, the duo planned to make one sculpture a month over the course of a year, fusing together stone and glass into ocean themed pieces. “The first piece [and centerpiece for the exhibit], Envy of the Sea, took four and a half months to finish, and we were in a panic,” Campbell says. “I’m glad we stuck with it because it’s a pretty impressive piece.” They completed all 12 pieces and displayed their synthesis of glass and stone at the Cotuit Center for the Arts in the fall of 2010.
“Dave’s an extraordinary person, and it was a true pleasure to work with a guy like that,” Magyar says. “He’s very multi-talented in a lot of different things. Quality and craftsmanship are really high on his list. He doesn’t worry about what it costs or how much time is involved, he’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Campbell relishes the trial and error of experimenting with projects, a process that allows him to broaden his skills as well as his body of work. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes and broken several pieces,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s definitely a learning process, and I think that’s what I like as much as anything–discovering new techniques and always working with different materials.”
Occasionally, it’s not the creation but the transportation that can be the demise of a sculpture. “My Broken Back” is a seven-foot bluestone sculpture with circular discs that sit like shelves along the curved vertical piece, loosely based on the curvature of the spine. While transporting the massive piece to a show at Heritage Museums and Garden in Sandwich, it fell out of the tractor bucket and broke into 12 pieces. While Campbell was disheartened at the turn of events, he also realizes that “when you do a lot of art shows and you move a lot of sculpture around, and it’s just a matter of time before something [like that] happens.” Months later, he epoxied all the pieces back together and set the sculpture in his front yard amongst towering pine trees, where it could very well live forever. The barely visible fracture lines on Campbell’s “Broken Back” remind him that even the heaviest stone can be broken into bits, that most everything can be repaired, and that sometimes the mishaps are what make life so interesting.
David Campbell’s work is available at The Glass Studio on Cape Cod, 9 Stone, Studio Brush and Gallery, Café Chew, Stonewood, Black Crow Gallery, and The Exchange in Plymouth.
Ashley Owen is a former intern and current freelance writer and photographer for Cape Cod Life Publications.