Dream creator: Jessica Prince Campbell
Posted on 21 December 2016
In this day and age it's fairly safe to say that we all harbour a secret Instagram crush and Jessica Prince Campbell from @bebeandprince is one of our ultimates- Guaranteed pretty soon she will be yours too.
Scrolling through this beautiful Mumma's delightful feed, filled with her cherubic kids, dreamy interior style and her lust worthy weaving creations is enough to enchant anyone. Jess lives a magical life between the bushland and the sea in the NSW Hunter Valley with her Kiwi Hubby and her three precious babes. Willow-Bebe (5), Tristan (3) and Valentine (7 months). Sharing in this joyful life is a menagerie of dogs, cats, a couple of bunnies and a bunch of chickens.
Add into all of this Jess’s burgeoning weaving business and you can tell this beauty has something seriously amazing going on. It was only fitting that we tracked down this gorgeous woman for a chat about her incredible one-of–a-kind weaves, motherhood and all things inspiring.
Tell us your background and how it came about that you started creating your gorgeous weaves?
I'd been a fan of Maryanne Moodie for quite some time so when she announced a teaching trip to Melbourne I jumped at it. I was breastfeeding Tristan at the time so it didn't feel like perfect timing but my husband was supportive & my sister in law Amy, a huge MM fan also was eager to come with me. We flew to Melbourne for one night, that was March 2015 & I've been weaving since.In the beginning I had no intention of selling my weaves but as I was sharing my progress on IG I was surprised by how many people asked if I had a store. My friend Jo (@littlevillagehandmade) is incredibly talented & makes the most beautiful children's cushions. Not long after my class she asked If I would be interested in doing a craft swap. I created a weave inspired by her daughter’s beautiful bedroom & Jo's amazing cushions. I was so surprised be her incredible feedback I decided I could really do this.
How would you describe your work, and what influences your aesthetic?
My weaves are detailed, thoughtful & playful. I love colour & natural fibres such as wool, cotton & silk & they are a huge inspiration for me. I search for the lushest yarn I can get my hands on & I love to use hand dyed or natural colourings which hopefully stands out in my weaves.
Were you always creative?
I think I have always been creative... but not necessarily crafty. I have loved making costumes over the years or bits & pieces for my Children's parties but nothing really more than that. It constantly amazes me that people have my weaves hanging in their homes around the world.
Tell us about the process of creating a new weave? How long does it take and do you design the complete lay out before you start?
It can be something as simple as seeing a magazine cover or a painting. My Packman weave was inspired by a children's clothing advertisement.
It's usually the colours that draw me in but shapes can play a part also. I allow two weeks to complete a weave. Bebe is at preschool 3 days a week but apart from that the children are home so I weave in the backyard with them while they play or at night when they go to bed.
Best piece of advice ever given to you?
My mother told me to always work, that it's important to always have a job getting some kind of income. That has stayed with me & I haven't been out of work since I was about 14 & helping my Aunt at her takeaway food store before school in the mornings. (I'm currently on 14 months of maternity leave). Another important one is to be kind, if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing. I know it's a cliché but in this day & age it seems more important than ever. Particularly when it comes to social media.
What have been the biggest obstacles or challenges you have had to overcome in order to create a business out of this? What advice would you give to others?
To try & be unique when so many people are doing the same thing. In the beginning while learning it's natural to be inspired by others & It can be difficult to move past that but it's so important. I would suggest that once you have the techniques to not look at what others are doing & find inspiration elsewhere.
How would you describe your creative process?
When creating a piece for somebody I don’t know it's important to have some kind of sense of them... whether it's a photograph of the room it's intended for or a picture of anything they find inspiring. Usually from there I will put some yarn together & they will be able to eliminate any colours or request something they think is missing from my choices. Once the colours are decided & I get an idea of what they are after I get started & generally I don't show the piece until it's completed.
Who are three other Australian designers, artists or creatives that you love at the moment?
My favourite Australian artist is Ken Done. I have always been drawn to his use of colour & his paintings of the beach & Sydney. His works are so nostalgic of my childhood. I adore Maryanne Moodie. As I mentioned above she inspired me to begin my weaving journey & I've been lucky enough to do two classes with her now. She really put weaving in the spotlight when nobody else was doing it. Honestly she radiates happiness & I think it's because she's living the Aussie dream- find something you love doing & do it everyday. Another weaver/artist that inspired me in the beginning was New Zealand artist Genevieve Griffiths. I got lost in the IG rabbit hole one day & ended up on her page. Her pieces are so intricate & defined, I would keep going back to her photos just staring in wonder. She had an exhibit in Koskela last year & it was a "pinch me" moment seeing them in person.
What are the resources that you turn to when you’re in a need of creative inspiration?
Since I began my weaving journey I have wanted to do a weave inspired by the beach & another inspired by the Australian bush. I haven't created either yet but I think if I'm ever feeling blank that nature will inspire me.
What is your favourite piece/creation?
My favourite piece is the one I created for my daughter Bebe. I was still learning & experimenting but I really threw myself into it without being too concerned of the outcome. I wanted it to be beautiful for her & something she would have forever but it was made more with love & excitement rather than having perfect technique.
What item could you never live without?
What are your must haves for a lust worthy kids room?
Great storage to hide all the plastic toys! Ha! I think with social media it's easy to get sidetracked by trends, my favourite children's bedrooms are the ones that grow organically & reflect the child. We currently have three of our babes sharing a bedroom. It definitely has its moments but it's a large room & I'm finding it a lot less challenging to style than I imagined.
A must have piece for me at the moment is a canopy for Valentines cot. Yes, it's very much an "in thing" right now but it's not just beautiful, having a curtain between a sleeping babe & her busy siblings is a necessity. I'd also love to add wallpaper to one wall. The girls side is so much pink & tulle on display, then Tristan's wall is just the opposite. I'd love something beautiful & gender neutral in between.
What item do you want so bad but don’t have right now?
Miu Miu buckle ballerinas & a huge vintage pink loom rug.
What are you most looking forward to?
Christmas with family & friends & a whole month of amazing delicious food.
If you had one piece of advice to give someone who’d like to be working full-time on his or her craft, what would it be?
This is difficult to answer because I'm not at that point & not sure If I ever will be. I think if I were wanting to do this full time I'd need to carve out some hours every day just to work on my craft. At this point in my life I can't do that & sometimes I go days without picking up my loom but I allow for that when taking orders. I love wool & I love being able to create something with my hands. Right now I really love weaving & I'm thankful other people are enjoying what I'm doing.