At first glance, the work of Jan Campbell looks like it could be carved out of wood. But what you’re seeing is not lumber… it’s an avocado pit that the artisan has transformed into handheld totems and pendants. Her handiwork boasts fantastical figurines and guardians of the forest that are created with an impressive attention to intricate detail.
So, how did Campbell start carving this unconventional material? It all began in 2014 while she was making an avocado sandwich for lunch. “I felt reluctant to throw the avocado stone into the bin,” she recalls. “I thought that it was too nice an object to throw away. I decided to hold onto the stone so I could take my time thinking about what to do with it.”
Campbell carried the pit in her coat pocket for a few days. “When I accidentally scraped the surface of the stone with my nail, a beautiful deep orange pigment surfaced. It occurred to me then to try carving it.” After obtaining some lino-cutting tools, she engraved the pit with a “strange little face” and let it dry. The final result was as hard as wood and set her on a new artistic path.
Nowadays, Campbell produces her characters out of the avocado stone as well as bronze. Both are available in her Etsy shop.