S.L. JONES S.L. Jones Main < BACK

S.L. Jones was born in Franklin County, Virginia. He was raised a mile south of the statue commemorating John Henry, the legendary "steel driving man" who worked in a railroad tunnel in the mountains of West Virginia. Jones began working for the railroad in 1918 at the age of 17 and eventually retired in 1967. By the time he was 10, he was an accomplished mountain fiddler. Jones also enjoyed hunting and he began carving small figures while watching for deer.

After the death of his wife he returned to his boyhood hobbies of carving and playing the fiddle. He married again in the early 1970s and began exhibiting his carvings of rabbits, dogs and horses at county fairs. Jones has been described as a single image artist and is best known for his portrait heads carved from wood. His figures, whether drawn or carved, male or female, are reflections of people he has known or visions from his dreams. Jones chisels and whittles his carvings from yellow poplar, black walnut, and maple wood and then highlights them with paint that he purchases in small jars from a local store. His drawings are done in pencil and crayon on paper.

His sculpture and drawings can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the Museum of American Folk Art, New York City.



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