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             Interview by Marbeth Schon
             with captions and quotes by David Jones
 

           ___________________________________________

Artist's Statement:

I consider myself a three dimensional animator. My goal is to use the finest material both new and old to create functional and non-functional curiosities.  I look to the work of old drawing from the Arts and Crafts movement, Folk Art, Modernism and the beginnings of the American Studio Movement and its contemporaries all around the globe. The finished pieces look as though they may be old but are curiously 21st Century.  I search in unobvious places for materials such as antler, recycled copper (including existing patina), scraps of various woods (exotic and not so), European Laminate, plus anything else in which I notice a certain “richness” – to include in my work.  Recycled materials are more or less a constant.  I also use traditional, commercially available materials such as sterling, fine silver, copper, brass, bronze, and high carat gold, among others. 

 “WISE OWL” - PIN
 STERLING, COPPER, AFRICAN BLACKWOOD, WHALE BONE, FINE SILVER
 2.75 X 1.5 X .5”
FABRICATED WITH EXTREME PRECISION AND CARE.

 


It is difficult to put a label on the work of David Jones--it is what it is--wonderful, funny, witty, timeless. Sometimes it looks like something, like the "Wise Owl" above, and sometimes it only seems to look like something--the associations are myriad and refreshingly puzzling.  Although his work might lead people to smile, Jones says that he is by nature a pessimist. "Through the years I have made numerous animals," he says, "the most popular being BIRDS of various sorts – mixed with frogs, snakes, llamas, bugs, cats, dogs, and others I have forgotten." 
 

“CAT BOX”
 STERLING, COPPER, SHIBUICHI (Japanese alloy), PET MILK CHARM, “TIN” FISH, PHOTOGRAPHIC LENS
 FABRICATED BY ME – WITH EXTREME SKILL AND PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING.....
 

David Jones received his Bachelor of Fine Arts/Crafts degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, studying under Stanley Lechtzin. He has been studying and teaching at the Penland School of Crafts since 1988.  

Participating in many exhibitions throughout the United States and other countries, he had a one person show, "American Folk" in Asheville, North Carolina in 2000, was included in an International Traveling Show in Sweden, San Francisco and Los Angeles from 1999 into early 2000, showed in "ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS" at the Velvet da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco in 2001, "Once and Again" at the OXOXO Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland in 2001, S.O.F.A. in New York City with Gallery 500 in 2001 and many more.                              

He has immersed himself in "looking" for as long as he can remember; growing up with an artist mother, he was already involved in pottery workshops by the age of seven.  "I am always looking at stuff because stuff is what I do," Jones says. "I don't like it so much in a material way.  I like the whole history of that and the immersion in the crazy world of making and looking at thing...I don't have a zillion hours to make everything that I would like to make. I have tons of parts.  It's been instrumental--constant looking."

 “ALIEN BOX”
 STERLING, FINE SILVER,COPPER, BAKELITE BUTTONS
 7 X 5 X 5”
 FABRICATED SWIFTLY TO NEAR PERFECTION - (I CAN BE FAST)

 


Recycling has always been important to Jones.  "Even when I was in grad school, I was conscious of that," he says. "In many ways I prefer recycled/reused materials – firstly for the obvious “GREEN – NESS”, secondly for the potential great savings
($$), and third for the used look which many times adds richness – i.e.: found copper with existing natural patina is many times, heads above what I can create in the studio with over the counter bottled patinas. It has always been a big thing for me. I really like finding cool things at the flea market or junk store and then putting them in my little box of things and then someday taking them out and making stuff. There are some things that I've made that up to 90% of the materials have been found--copper with good patina or leg from a Danish chair that was broken.....I have thousands of parts in the studio. Some are biggish, but thousands that are ready to go."
 

 

“STEIN BIRD – BOX” (FRONT AND BACK)  STERLING, BRASS, 24K, ANTIQUE GLASS, MEXICAN MEASURING CUP IN GALVANIZED STEEL
 FABRICATED AND SUCH – HEAD FLIPS BACK TO EXPOSE MINIMAL STORAGE AREA - (DIAMONDS AND SUCH)

 

“ARTICULATED #2 PENCIL”
 STERLING AND SLICED #2 PENCIL – SLIGHTLY LONGER #2 PENCIL THAT IS A BIT WOBBLY –  - - - - - - FUN..

 

 “CUP BOX”
 STERLING, COPPER, FINE SILVER, LENTICULAR LENS  (SUPPLIED BY CLIENT)
18K GOLD, 1945 PEP PINS 
8 X 4 X 4”APPROX.
FABRICATED USING TRADITIONAL AND  “NOT SO” TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES...


Jones has produced many pieces on commission.  The green chandeliers (below) were based on a 3-1/2" lampshade and have over 5000 individually drilled holes!

"What has happened with the commission work," he relates,..."they like me so they give me ideas and then say 'make it your own.'  I would have to figure out what to do, but was never told how to do it. All of the private commission work is kind of the same way. They might bring me a part and say "I want this" like the cup box (above). The people brought me that lenticular lens with the coffee cup on it and I just copied it and it all just kind of happened.  No one was ever disappointed with my commission work." 
 

               

COMMISSION FOR LAKE AUSTIN SPA AND RESORT IN AUSTIN TEXAS
FOUR LIGHT FIXTURES, EACH 44" X 44" X 14"
PATINATED COPPER, COPPER MESH, STEEL ARMATURE  -

PART OF A COMMISSION OF 10 WALL PIECES
COPPER, STERLING, FOUND OBJECTS
14 X 4 X 3” APPROX..  
USING VARIOUS TRADITIONAL AND INVENTED TECHNIQUES.

KNOXVILLE TN BOX
 COMISSION FOR COUPLE IN KNOXVILLE TN
STERLING, COPPER, FOUND PARTS, ALTERED OLIVE PITS FROM CLIENTS HOME, KNOXVILLE TRANSIT TOKENS
9" X 4" X 4”
FABRICATED WITH LOVE.

"I don't sketch ideas," says Jones, "but they never leave my head. The jewelry is my sketching. And the bigger pieces--some of them are the paintings and some are the drawings.....All of the sculpture that I make is just big jewelry--I look at it like a piece of jewelry--the only difference is that the parts can't be as small.  I started making jewelry--even very sculptural pieces--when I was in undergrad school and then it became so big that it wasn't jewelry any more, but it still has the "jeweled" quality which is important to me."
 
RING
STERLING SILVER, WOODEN FISHING BOBBER

PINS
.999 SILVER, 22K GOLD, WOOD COPPER & OTHER MATERIALS

 “I CAN’T HEAR YOU” PIN
 STERLING, COPPER, 24K, 1920’S BADGE
 2.5 X 1.25 X .5”  
 FABRICATED

 

 

When asked what or who inspires his artistic expression, Jones says, "There are a gazillion things--things that I like that I look at. I do like Pop art.  Alexander Calder is huge for me--his  jewelry is amazing. I like Scandinavian design, the whole Arts & Crafts Movement--just the way they used their hands to make the beautiful copper pieces--comes through in some of the larger pieces. I'm a huge fan of Paul Evans--his metal work knocks my socks off.  He would be someone that I am definitely looking at--not copy but use.  Then there is other mid-20th century stuff--I like Earl Krentzin--those little figures--love that kind of narrative stuff. I am a huge fan of Ken Cory... and Albert Paley and you see all the detail that goes into these things and it makes them more than what they are in a kind of "masterpiecy" kind of way.  For me that was always important and I wanted people to look at pieces and say Wow!  How did you do that and how long did that take you to make? And people are always asking me how long a piece takes to make and I can't give them an answer.  Sometimes it happens fast, but the really good stuff--there is no way to make it fast.  There are many more--I don't think I'm influenced by any body more so than anyone else. I think of my work as individual and don't want people to say that it looks like anyone--I want them to say that it looks like David Jones.  I've never really repeat things.  I'm always changing and always want to  make the work better.  
“ALKA SELTZER BOX”
 STERLING, COPPER, LENTICULAR LENS, FINE SILVER
 4 X 2.75 X 2.75”
  FABRICATED, COMPLETELY – ( THE PILLS ON THE FEET and LOOSE SPELL  "E. A. T. M. E." )
 

“BRUSH BIRD BOX”
 STERLING, COPPER, FINE SILVER, 18K, FOUND PARTS AND SOMETHING I AM SURE I MISSED
 12 X 7X 6”
 FABRICATED WITH MUCH LOVE
 (Wanting to make something that most people would not want to put the time into)


"The work that you see from my desk--all has hidden secrets which kind of happen on the spur of the moment," He explains. "I don't really sketch anything, I just have an idea and I start. Sometimes it just sits on the bench for years and then I pick it up later. I don't make a lot of mistakes, I just make things.   Sometimes I'm in the flow and sometimes not--I get in the flow and sometimes it is good and sometimes not so good and the other work no one sees.  I don't let it out if it isn't good. 
 
"PELICAN"
STERLING SILVER, 22K GOLD, OTHER MATERIALS

 “FEATHERED BIRD”
 COPPER, BRASS, INDUSTRIAL PLASTIC, LENTICULAR LENSES
 19 X 16 X 10”
FABRICATED BY ME – (I AM ACTUALLY JUST ONE PERSON)
 


Jones says that he is interested in making “timeless” art  –"This is extremely important in my larger work--making something that will stand the test of time.  Along with that 'timeless' aspect comes the marking. I feel it is very important to mark what you make--as in my makers mark. I sometimes come across beautiful, time consuming, well designed and executed work that is unmarked. This baffles my mind--maybe the maker is just very humble. I, too, have trouble saying that what I make is GREAT but I would like others who may come across my pieces in 50, 100, 200 years to at least have some clue as to who, what and maybe even where the item was made."
 

 CLOCK – LAMP & SIDE TABLE – ALL PIECES PABRICATED BY ME IN MY ONE PERSON STUDIO WITH CARE AND SKILL – USING MOSTLY COPPER AND OTHER MATERIALS – LAMP IS 27” TALL  CLOCK AROUND 17” WIDE AND THE TABLE IS YOUR AVERAGE TABLE HEIGHT WHICH I CAN NOT RECALL AT THIS MOMENT.... 


 “ BOXY FLOOR LAMP”
 COPPER, BRASS, JAPANESE PAPER
FABRICATED PROTOTYPE
 32 X 12 X 12”
 I MADE IT....


The designs of David Jones' larger pieces seem to hearken back to the mid 20th century, but they are also curiously timeless--his designs belong to no one century and will be as fresh in a hundred (perhaps 200) years as they are now. 
 

 

 “ SMALL ALIEN TABLE LAMP”
PATINATED COPPER, AND STAINLESS
23” TALL
FABRICATED 
 

“LIGHTED CLOCK”
 COPPER, COLORED GLASS, ALUMINUM
 17 X 6.5 X 4”

FABRICATED 

 

Email David Jones: djonesmetal@hometownu.com

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Photographs courtesy of David Jones and by Marbeth Schon and Shirley Byrne
Web design by Marbeth Schon
www.mschon.com


 Copyright ©  Modern Silver magazine 2009
    
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