Honorable Mention

Thomas Campbell

My practice evolved from the depths of the industrial steel world following a seven-year stint as a steelworker at my family’s 138-year-old steel fabrication business. Steeped in this lineage, my work seeks to advance the familial tradition beyond the constraints of the industrial world, shifting our perceptions of a material often viewed as cold, rigid, dark, and unyielding in its modern industrial application. My work challenges our common understanding of steel as a purely functional, utilitarian material. Driven by the traditions of industry, I aim to propel these techniques beyond the industrial landscape, highlighting the complexity and beauty that can be achieved through age-old industrial processes.

Thomas Campbell is a fifth-generation steel worker living and working in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2016, he left his family’s steel fabrication business to pursue a two-year fellowship at Penland School of Craft. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and can be found in the permanent collections of the National Ornamental Metal Museum and the University of Arkansas Little Rock.