Ray de Vries

A founding member of Artwood

My interest in woodworking started at a young age. When I was three, I took the doors off my mother's kitchen, cupboards and explained to her that I was going to be a screwdriver man. At five, I collected a bunch of scrap, blocks, nails and wire and made a "motor". It went on from there. My formal woodworking education started in the 6th grade when the principal of Mount Vernon Christian School took a few students into his own shop and taught a few basics. A few years later when the principal moved, my father realized I was a lot more interested in tools than cows and bought some of the principals tools so that I could start my own shop. (I'm still using those tools today along with a few more that were added). In High School, my favorite class was woodshop. In college I studied woodshop. My first career was teaching High School woodshop. A few years later found me in the construction business building everything from manure pits for farmers to spiral staircases for houses. Today, my day involves running the family farm where we grow organic produce and build things.

What I make depends on what the wood wishes to be made into. Each piece will tell you what it would like to become with its form and grain. Following such direction is one of the joys of woodworking.

I feel that objects we fill our homes with should be enduring things to pass on through generations. With an eye to long-lasting beauty, functionality, as well as variety, a range of projects are receiving my attention. Presently, I am doing a run of mirrors and coat hangers as well as an expression of a few philosophical statements. There is always something new and different coming out of the shop. (Stay in touch for the latest adventure in woodworking. Enjoy.)