Couple celebrates 30th year with special show

by Colin Clements
Lifestyle Correspondent
Western Gazette Aug 2005

ARTISTS Adrian and Irene Campbell are celebrating 30 eventful years of living in the Blackdown Hills by hosting an exhibition featuring 12 leading artists from the area.
  The exhibition, in the newly refurbished Barn Gallery, will include ceramics, stained glass, design furniture, sculpture, turnery and textiles, and runs from 3 - 17 September 11am - 5pm.
  Adrian and Irene trained at Bath Academy of Art just after the war and later worked as art teachers. Before they married In 1954, Irene worked with a firm of professional potters in Cornwall. In 1976 they sold everything and went to live in the old bakery on the edge of Bishopswood.
  With four daughters to support and no jobs, they buckled down to fend for themselves. They bought a cow and some sheep and planted lots of vegetables.
  Bartering became away of life for them and they regularly exchanged their milk for groceries from the village shop. Eventually they converted the old baker's shop into living quarters and the bakery into a studio and soon they were busy creating craftwork which they sold at various folk festivals.
  During a visit to Cornwall they met the celebrated St Ives painter, Bob Devereux. Adrian was invited to show his paintings at the Salthouse Gallery's forthcoming exhibition, and other galleries began to take an interest, resulting in Adrian's work in oils and gouache exhibited in 12 galleries nationally.

 Irene (nee Chedd) & Adrian Campbell
 Taunton TA20 3RS

ARTISTS CELEBRATE: Irene and Adrian Campbell who are celebrating 30 years at their Barn Gallery in Bishopswood in the Blackdown Hills.

Irene relaunched herself into the world of ceramics with her miniature table wares being sold by the Singing Tree doll's house shop in Chelsea. When her work became recognised locally, the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen enrolled her as a member. Later she was elected a member of the Guild's governing council and was instrumental in setting up the Taunton Deane group of members. Nowadays, Irene is in regular demand for local display by local exhibitions and teaching. Her work includes ceramic sculptures of farm animals and prints of local life. Adrian is busy at his easel and runs one-day courses at the studio for mature students. In 2002, they opened the Barn Gallery at Bishopswood with a display by local artists artists as part of Somerset Art Week. The work of local artists are regularly exhibited.
After 30 years in the Blackdowns, and far from putting their feet up, Adrian and Irene are in the forefront of the resurgence of art and crafts promoted by the Blackdown Hills Rural Partnership.