Joan Campbell and Jamie VanPelt’s jewelry, in a manner of speaking, speaks for itself. Each piece is unique, as those who attend this month’s Westmoreland County Museum Art and Wine event will see. The mother-daughter team will greet visitors Wednesday, May 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. when the Museum and the Inn at Montross will host the opening of the display that will appear until June 7. Campbell will also give a live jewelry demonstration.
The pair formed Horizons Blue Jewelry about six years ago after many years of creating their one-of-a-kind jewelry. Campbell, who graduated from John Marshall High School in Richmond in 1976, said she first fell in love with jewelry making when she took silver smithing in a high school art class. She went on to attend Radford University for two years with metal smithing as her major before moving to Colorado. There she continued to develop her skills and sell her work at craft shows.
Asked what her inspiration is when making a specific piece, she answered, “The stone itself is the inspiration. It speaks to you and tells you what it wants to be.”
Campbell migrated back to Virginia in the 1980s, earned a teaching degree, first in special education, then in art, and has been the art teacher at Washington District Elementary School for 17 years. Making jewelry as a secondary job allows her “to show children that an artistic outlet can be for everyday,” she said, “that it doesn’t have to be a career to nourish your soul, make you feel good, and keep you busy doing something you love.”