Derek Jones is an amazing glass artist who creates beautiful pendants, giant marble-like orbs, and more. Hear him talk about his personal ethos behind flexible pricing and how he collaborates with others for some of his settings. Spreading art and joy since 1995 at the Fair!
Derek Jones Glass Art at OCF
Transcription by Jade Rainsong
(Karen:) This is Saturday at Country Fair and it’s super crowded right here at Pike Street and Abbey Road. That’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful wine bottle stoppers. It looks like big glass marbles with all kinds of swirls of color and design. They’re very 3D looking. Some of them look like they’re, uh, underwater creatures, or it could be fractal patterns or coral and fish and mushrooms. And they change when you look at them, when you move side to side, you can even see the imagery inside them. Just move and shape shift. They’re just incredible pieces.
(Customer:) And my favorite artists here, Derek, does beautiful work every year. I’m amazed. Well, first I thought it was a peacock. Actually, I think it still is a peacock.
(Derek:) One of the things I do differently here than I do in any other fair that I do is the sliding scale. So I price everything in a, in a range, especially when I have time and I let people pay where they’re economically able or where they’re economically at, cause we live in an unfair system, and so trying to create some equality or just trying to like give people who do social work or whatever, some benefit as opposed to, you know.
(Karen:) Yeah, I saw that. That was really sweet. That last lady that came up… You’re asking her about her work and she did social work and you’re able to give her a really, really good deal on a piece she wanted. That was awesome. Some of your pieces have a really different kind of setting. There was one, I think you were telling me the other day that it was, was it made in Bali? Was it wood?
(Derek:) I did this centerpiece glass piece, and then this is just a… I did two pieces that were experimental pieces that were with woodcarving on the outside. And so yeah, I’m really into collaborative works and this is one of these collaborative pieces that I did.
(Karen:) Is there a symbolism in the design of that particular piece?
(Derek:) That was more just like a, I want to do my own designs on those next time, but I let them kind of run with their designs cause they’re super competent carvers over there. And, um, I’m also looking for a way to, um, go with my wife to Asia every year. And so I was trying to come up with some things that worked for that. And this is one of these ideas.
(Karen:) So it truly was collaborative because they came up with the design around the glass piece in the middle that you made.
(Derek:) Yup. I’ve been making glass and selling it at the Oregon Country Fair since 1995.
(Derek:) And that first year I came was 1993 and that was an excellent experience.
(Karen:) Is it pretty steady business for you here?
(Derek:) Yeah, Country Fair is always good. I pay attention and work it and it’s really great. So of course, sometimes at Fair you’re not really thinking about sales, and so I tend to want to just have some fun and visit with your friends.
(Karen) So it looks like Derek’s measuring off some cord here around his neck. Are you going to make some chord on the end of those pendants for people?
(Derek:) So I always string my pendants up for people.
(Karen:) That’s nice, they can wear them right away if they want to…
(Derek:) The Derek Jones way.
(Karen:) Do you have like a signature piece that you do just for this fair?
(Derek:) One thing I’ve always enjoyed doing what I do is I’ve never been, I’ve never been the guy that’s, they say, if you want to be successful in art, you want to make a recognizable thing and just repeat that thing over and over again. Um, so the people see your thing and recognize that. But part of what I like about art is variety. So I take a variety approach which probably isn’t the smartest business approach, but you know, I think businesses kind of overrated, to be honest with you. It’s, um, it’s a root of a lot of our issues. People can say religion or whatever, and sure, certain things have been damaging to the human experience, but I think business just for the sake of making money has been a real issue.
(Karen:) Sounds like you operate more from, um, wanting to spread art and joy.
(Derek:) I’m an art and joy spreader, spread it around the world. I go way, way back at art and joy spread world. No, no. It’s something I do like. Um, but I’m always trying to reevaluate what that even means. I mean, I think we’re really in dire need of a new model for humanity and it’s going to be one that’s not based on consumption and, you know, and in the end, I do create a consumer product and I try to be realistic and honest about that. Um, but I do try to create like things that, you know, provide some kind of deeper meaning for people. Cause I find a lot of deep meaning in nature. So I try to emulate that in my artwork. And I think making that kind of reconnection to the natural world, that I think is what it’s a lot of its about. Yeah. Which isn’t, I mean, Country Fair’s something that, um, I think that’s part of its soul and what it is as a, as a thing, you know.
(Karen:) Yeah, a lot of people seem to come here to connect in different ways to connect to through humanity and divinity and through music and through song and through beauty and visual art and, and just, I think a sense of celebration and play.
(Derek:) That’s an astute observation, Karen.
(Karen:) You don’t have to observe too much to see that here. Awesome.