Ray Jones’ story reads like that of many other artists profiled on this website–ending with the perfect twist!
Well educated as an engineer and working in an aerospace propulsion firm in Southern California he had worked as a carpenter’s assistant while going through college. Setting up his first household he bought tools instead of furniture, then proceeded to make the furniture.
Deciding to make the perfect jewelry box as a gift for his future wife the die was cast! Shortly after that, in l982, he left his job in aerospace and has been making wood boxes and selling them at art fairs throughout the country ever since.
I enjoy making wood boxes, turned or otherwise. A wood box should be just that: wood. So, as much as possible I use only wood in my boxes, including the hinges, fasteners, and drawer slides. I am fascinated by wooden mechanisms, and the intersections of various geometric shapes.
The tremendous variety of woods that exist in the world fascinate me. I try to use sustainably harvested, plantation grown, salvaged, or otherwise “environmentally friendly” woods whenever possible.
I had never seen Ray’s work until I visited his website recently.The boxes come in many sizes, an infinite variety of woods and each one is a work of imagination and perfection<span style.
There are two links you must explore:
“Very Special Boxes” which are non-production in which he tests new designs, combinations of woods and techniques, experiments where he explores the media rather than thinking about how much time they take to complete. These boxes are completely made of wood, even the hinges.
While you are on his site also click the link “Coming Soon,” and read the story about the “Thuya Burl” that he got from Morocco and see what a master woodworker does with a 100+ pounds of burl.
Ray now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Linda, and their three children. The boxes are all made by him with occasional help from a part time assistant. Like many artist couples his wife runs the business.
The photos only tell a small part of the story. Each box is finely finished with careful sanding, hand rubbing of finishing oils and buffing of the final finish. Visitors are encouraged to touch these jewel-like boxes, see the precision working of the ebony hinges and enjoy the tactile pleasure that they bring.
Prices start at $75.
Visit Ray’s website: www.rayjoneswoodboxes.com.
Where you can meet Ray and see the boxes: