ABOUT RAY JONES
Where are you from / where do you live now / what brought you to the southern highland region? I'm originally from a small town (pop. 2000) in Northern California. After college, I moved to Los Angeles to work and, later, met my wife there. She's from the New York/New England area. Neither of us intended to stay in So. California, but we couldn't agree on where to move to. So, we compromised on Asheville: she knew people who had vacationed here or had gone to summer camps here, I knew of the strong crafts community. We moved here in August 1990.
What is your favorite part about living in the southern highlands? Well, what's not to like! First off, it's beautiful: mountains, trees rivers lakes, it's just gorgeous! The people are friendly and have come here from all parts of the country. Asheville is just the right size, neither too, big nor too small. There is a long history of crafts here, and folks seem to really appreciate handmade items.
Tell us something unique about your process / what makes your work unique among artists in your same discipline? I make wood boxes. Mostly what sets mine apart is that my boxes are made entirely of wood, including the hinges fasteners, and all other hardware. I don't use any metal or plastic components. Also, my formal education was engineering, rather than art or crafts, and I think that shows in my designs.
How long have you been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild? What is your favorite part of being a Guild member? I joined the SHCG in the Spring of 1991, as soon as I was eligible, so 31 years! My favorite part is the fellowship of the other artists. It sounds corny, but I consider the Guild to be family. Some of the first people we met after moving here were Guild members, and they have become some of our closest friends.
What can visitors expect to find at your booth? Are you working on anything specific to reveal at the Craft Fair this Summer? (New work?) I will be bringing some new box designs that I had time to develop during the pandemic, while all the art shows were cancelled. I'll also be bringing my "old favorites", and some new-to-me woods.
Anything else you'd like to share? I'm really looking forward to seeing my regular customers and fellow artists again, as well as meeting new folks for the first time. It's going to be a great fair!