It All Started With a Kitchen Knife

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Original Post Date: May 12, 2017

As part of our Mother’s Day series, we will introduce you to several superstar moms (and grandmothers!) who combine their love of family with their love of woodworking. 

Lucette Jones and her daughter in Columbus, Ohio. Mother's Day 2016

Meet Lucette Jones

Growing up with an artist mother and a woodworker father, Lucette Jones was always surrounded with creativity. Her mother did painting, sculpting and fabric arts, and her father “had some really cool woodworking tools” for his furnituremaking hobby. So it was only natural that she and her sister were artistically inclined from an early age. Lucette’s first memory of carving wood was when she found an old kitchen knife at 10 years old. She scavenged some partially rotted wood from the park across their street and “that began my love of carving,” she recalled. 

She remembered making belts as a young girl by slicing wood she found and stringing the pieces together with leather cord. “I also made my own version of the rustic fairy gardens that are so popular now. I once made a pair of Japanese wooden shoes,” she said.  

Once she reached high school in the ’70s, Lucette was one of the first girls at her school allowed to take Wood Shop. “In that class, I built a chessboard from walnut and maple and made my own carving mallet from ash,” Lucette shared.    

Through the years she has continued to hone her skills, building and repairing ornate frames at various galleries across the US and taking on commission carvings. She finds a lot of inspiration from nature and describes herself as “very focused” when she is working on a project. 

“I usually spend a lot of time working out the details in my head first, then I do a drawing and consider the tools needed to accomplish it,” Lucette said.

Working at the Toledo Woodcraft store has its perks too. “It really is part of my job to keep educating myself in the different aspects of woodworking,” she said. She took her first furnituremaking class in January, making two Z-chairs as gifts for her daughter and son-in-law. “I was really happy the way the chairs turned out,” she said. “It was so out of the norm for me. I really enjoyed it.” 

In addition to carving, Lucette is skilled at pyrography and woodturning. “I have made quite a number of projects on the lathe and small projects like Shaker boxes and bandsaw boxes,” she said. She is often asked to teach classes at the Woodcraft store too.

Some of Lucette's Carvings

Lucette made sure her children were given opportunities to learn and see as many various art forms as possible too. “I got them involved in the Toledo Museum of Art classes when we moved to Toledo when the kids were in grade school,” she said. Her daughter Erika, 28, is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design. “She and I worked together on her Final Art Portfolio for college (all her idea!) and veneered the cover in beautiful African Mahogany,” she commented. Her 24-year-old son Sean is a “really good woodworker” making a variety of items on the lathe. He has done some construction and is also a glass artist. “When he was about 14, we invested in a lathe and some other woodworking equipment,” Lucette recalled, a move that has served them all well over the years. 

She is also stepmother to Jessica and step-grandmother to 8-year-old Rylan. "Ry will probably inherit the Olaf carving. He really likes Olaf," she laughed. 

Lucette created the 3 lions on the left to match the one on the right for the Toledo Arts Commission

Another wise purchase was her first really good carving knife, which she still uses today. “I also really like my Rikon 14-inch bandsaw to cut blanks and many other things,” she said.

What’s her dream project? “I lived in Seattle for a while and loved the native American art. I would really like to do a large Pacific Northwest sculpture in wood,” she shared.

That imaginative young lady who started carving with a kitchen knife probably never dreamed of the projects she would later create. That big sculpture is only a wish away.

Happy Mother’s Day, Lucette Jones!

We hope you'll be inspired!

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