Evelyn Campbell received the ATA Award of Excellence for her tapestry “Sandhill Cranes over Pajarito Acres,” which was exhibited in Celebration of Fiber, during Intermountain Weavers Conference (IWC), a regional fiber arts conference with representatives from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. The conference is traditionally held at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado the last weekends of July, 2013.
I grew up in western Nebraska on a ranch established by my great grandfather in the 1880’s. It still remains in the family. I learned to sew as a child through 4-H clubs. The highlight of that experience was participating in the State Fair fashion show with the dress that I had made at the age of 13. Sewing was a passion for me in those days. After graduation from the University of Colorado, marriage and 2 children while living in the Denver area, our family moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1953. It was a closed city and I had to have a Q-clearance as a wife of an employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1962, after my youngest son entered school, I joined a Cellular and Molecular Biology basic research group at LANL. A serious interest in fiber arts had to await my retirement as a staff member from the Life Science Division in 1995, where I had been participating in the Human Genome Project.
The decision to learn to be a weaver in my retirement years was because the Española Valley Fiber Arts Center in Española, NM made it easy to take all sorts of classes. Gradually my interests have narrowed to tapestry. My technical training in my work life was an excellent preparation for the perfectionist’s artistry of famous tapestry artists such as James Koehler. He used to teach twice a year at the Center. The idea for “Sandhill Cranes over Pajarito Acres” was the last discussion that I had with him.
“Sandhill Cranes over Pajarito Acres” was inspired by a photograph taken by T. K. Thompson of cranes flying over my home in the fall toward their wintering ground at the Bosque, near Socorro, NM. Our Las Tejedoras tapestry group challenged each of us to weave a tapestry illustrating ‘passages.’ Watching the sandhill cranes flying over Pajarito Acres and listening to them every spring and fall has been a passage that has been part of my life for 47 years.