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Artists settle in Meat Camp

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Jun. 27, 2013 | Modified: Jun. 27, 2013
Artists settle in Meat Camp

Keith Lambert carefully crafts one of his latest creations from his home studio in the Meat Camp

Photo by Jesse Campbell

Keith Lambert and Willie Baucom are trying to make the Meat Camp community known more than just for a pretty drive in the countryside.

Along with promoting their own fire-kilned pottery and hand-sculpted marble figures, the husband-and-wife artistic duo want to serve as an intermediary for other artists in a community that’s off the beaten path.

“We are representing not only ourselves, but Meat Camp artists and their art,” Lambert said.

Their newest studio-gallery hybrid, Shipyard Earthworks on Meat Camp Road, showcases their earthly inspired pottery and sculptures that have rivaled European pieces that demand the admiration of the world’s top artists.

Lambert actually won a top French contest — a first for any Yankee who has dared entered the competition, bragged Baucom.

If the couple is world renowned for the artistic talents, you would not know it by their unassuming, quaint studio located nonchalantly off the side of their restored 1903 farmhouse.

The studio serves as a retreat and staging area for the artists who split their time between the mountain safe haven and their coastal studio in Beaufort.

As they have in their secluded location on the Carolina coast, where all they have to do for inspiration is literally look out the window at a rare breed of wild Spanish horses, the artists have found comfort and musings in the mountains of Watauga County.

One intangible that has remained a constant for the artists, besides the hardened marble they work with, is the good nature of people and neighbors.

“Good people is the best thing you can find anywhere,” Baucom said.

The couple’s fusion as a working tandem is a serendipitous tale of long-acquainted artists who have always admired one another’s work.

Lambert is a Rockingham native who taught at UNC- Greensboro and served as head of the art department at Gaston College for 25 years.

Baucom, on the other hand, was part of a visiting artists’ program at Gaston College and for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system.

They fell in love with the High Country, particularly Meat Camp, while working on a three-dimensional wall for the new AppalCART building and AppalCART markers on King and College streets.

“We had been up here quite a bit and we just love the area,” Lambert said. “That was the big change. That’s when we decided we enjoyed coming up here and should probably start looking for a place.”

While Lambert was on a trip to South Korea, Baucom started looking for a new house.

“I said to her, ‘Don’t find me a fixer-upper, but she found the worse one,’” Lambert said with a chuckle.

All repairs aside, the couple has felt right at home at their western studio and home.

“Our neighbors are embedded in the earth,” Lambert said. “Everyone that we have met has been unbelievable. We are in a nice community for art and the environment itself.”

Throughout the years, Baucom and Lambert have come to rely and cherish one another as artists.

“We are a team,” Baucom said. “We have taught together for years. It’s good to have a friend, who at the end of the night, can just sit around with you talking about the process.”

“We really work well together and value each other’s opinion,” Lambert said.

“And each other’s work,” interjected Baucom, as she finished her husband’s train of thought.

Shipyard Earthwork is located at the corner of Profitt and Meat Camp roads, approximately four miles from the intersection of Highway 194.

The studio is open the first two weeks of each month and by appointment any other time.

For more information, call (252) 241-2613 or visit

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