Copper in the Arts

August 2010

Meet Dave Jones of MADE

By Rebecca Troutman

David Jones at work in his studio. Dave Jones in his studio.

Photograph by Paul David

Dave Jones is a lighting designer, sculptor, and jewelry crafter with an eye for 20th century design. His works are geometrical, with strong influences in the arts and crafts movement, Scandinavian design and Asian folk art. Having amassed a treasure trove of collected pieces in addition to making his own, Jones regularly borrows inspiration and materials from recycled parts, summarizing his artistic career succinctly by describing that he’s “in the ‘stuff’ business—only the good, quality stuff.”

Self-described as “riddled with training,” Jones has a BFA in Ceramics from Kutztown University. After his initial training he spent many summers at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and went to on to focus on jewelry and metalsmithing at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Tess Doran, have recently opened their own shop called MADE in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

His talent showed long before his college years, however. His mother was an art therapist in St. Louis, and she fostered his interest. “When I was into single digits, I was into raku workshops, and went to her shows,” he remembers. “I got it from an early age.” Jones is constantly pressing forward with new ideas. His process is extremely tactile— meaning that most of his pieces result from getting into his studio and putting his hands to work. “I’m not a drawer or sketcher or model maker,” he says about his process. “I just go for it.” He also makes a lot of small pieces of jewelry, which are often conceptually sculptural, and sometimes serve as models for a larger version.

revere sconce by made Revere copper sconce by Dave Jones.

Photograph courtesy of Dave Jones

Copper is one of his favorite metals to work with, not just because it’s easy to shape.  “I have a weakness for copper,” Jones admits. “I like how soft it is, not just in the sense of malleable, but in the patinas I can put on it. It’s like butter.”

He loves the idea that copper is largely a reused material: unless one procures it directly from the mine, the source of copper is from many smaller parts melted down over and over again. For that reason, his lighting design style is often sought after by commission from people who are diligent about using green methods to furnish their spaces.  He’s currently working on five huge sconces of Revere copper that is expected to inhabit the “world’s greenest” house, home to venture capitalist Paul Holland and his wife Linda Yates. They're using environmentally regenerative materials for the structure, and the house will be fossil fuel free with a Platinum LEED rating.

Jones’ sconces are influenced by traditional Japanese architecture. “I love the whole idea of Japanese folk craft, the Mingei arts movement,” he says. “I like the warmth of the style.” He thinks copper reflects that style the best, but is quick to mention that he prefers to play with the oxidization of the metal. “I don’t really like shiny copper,” he explains. “I did a lot of forging and lots of the parts are held together with copper rivets, so the seal of the pieces is very warm, Asian opulence.”

In the near future he and his wife Tess are looking forward to teaching more, sharing their knowledge with the Washington Guild of Goldsmiths and possibly other establishments and universities. Now with small children of his own and a fondness for birds and animals in his art, he thinks if he could tackle any huge project it would be a playground.

“I’m not afraid to make anything,” he says.

Resources:

Video: Dave Jones Making A Copper Mouse

Dave Jones, MADE Shop, 277 W. Main St., Kutztown, PA, (484) 648-4150

Also in this Issue:

Archives:

2017   |   2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013   |   2012   |   2011   |   2010   |   2009   |   2008   |   2007

Contact the Editor: