Norma Jean Campbell grew up on the banks of Beach Fork River, near Maud, Kentucky. As a child, she was immersed in nature – making tea sets, dolls, and mud pies from riverbank clays. She began to sew at age six and still uses the same treadle sewing machine.
Norma Jean married and passed on her artistic skills to her three children and other young people through 4-H projects in puppetry, clay sculptures, weaving and sewing. When her kids left for college Norma Jean worked 5 years for the Kentucky Historical Society weaving on an old loom.
Today, Norma Jean lives with her husband Virgil on an historic farm near Springfield where they raise cattle, chickens, peacocks, sheep, and plants for dying her wool. After seeing felting needles used – Norma Jean became addicted to the sculptural possibilities of felted wool. After each spring’s shearing of her 25 Border Leicester ewes, Norma uses anything from onion skins and blood root to sumac berries and walnut hulls to dye her wool. She then felts the wool, and uses it to sculpt Santas, gnomes and specific people. Norma also offers classes at her West Wind Farm in spinning, weaving and natural dyeing
Works by Norma Jean Campbell can be found at True Kentucky, Glendale, KY; and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.