Knots From Trees Create Unique Artist's Medium

PAYSON ARTS

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After a lifetime spent as a cabinet maker with his own shop, Harry Jones is no stranger to wood. He enjoys creating art for his home with it -- faux kachina dolls, a carved bust of President Lincoln and model wooden cars decorate his home.

One of his hobbies is hiking and when he wanders the woodland trails of the Rim Country for inspiration and recreation he often takes a girl with him.

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Harry Jones is not a Native American but when he found himself fascinated with Kachinas, the retired cabinet maker decided to carve them for his own pleasure. "I would never sell them," he said.

A girl carved on the end of a walking stick that is. (His best girl is his wife of 39 years, artist Susie Jones.)

While he's walking the trails, he is also in search of burls, gnarled abnormal wood growths on trees that fall off, light enough to carry home. Jones has been making and selling his vases for two years and is beginning to experiment. A turtle shell is his latest burl wood project.

"Last winter, when I didn't have anything to do I made a teardrop camper," he said.

Teardrop shaped aluminum campers originated in the 1930s but thanks to car buffs and nostalgia enthusiasts they are rising again in popularity.

The campers are made to be towed behind a vehicle and sleep two with a small kitchenette on the exterior.

Jones' teardrop has two burl wood surfaces, one in the kitchenette, the other is the removable table top that fits between the bed when it is folded up.

"I can't wait to build another one," he laughed.

When he and Susie moved to Payson from Canton, Ohio 11 years ago he brought his carving equipment with him, "but the carving has gone by the wayside," he said.

Creating with burl wood is what keeps him busy now.

The resume

Name: Harry Jones

Motto: (for hiking) Come back alive.

Fave place to hike: West Clear Creek

Award you're most proud of: First-place ribbon in the hobby division at the Northern Gila County Fair for a handmade, wooden 1929 Packard.

Contact: hairyhiker@cybertrails.com

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