Billy Ray SimsTraditional Appalachian hand-split white oak baskets are the focus of Billy Ray's craft. But he also creates baskets of New...
Media: WoodI enjoy the entire process of woodworking. From raw lumber's earthy fragrance to the visual beauty of grain and figure and sensuous feel of finely sanded or finished wood, it's a many-faceted experience I always appreciate. Wood is a very "alive" medium in which to work. It offers constant surprises and challenges in dealing with design, execution and the quirkiness inherent in many species.
My focus in woodworking is laminating various hardwoods and/or hardwood veneer into interesting patterns and using the resulting block to create bowls, vessels or fashion accessories. I began my career full time in 1980 when it got out of hand as a hobby. Other than woodworking skills learned from my father and school shop classes, I'm mostly self taught, preferring trial and error or "happy accidents" to formal training. Almost every design crafted to a finished piece generates several other paths not taken that say to me, "what if you tried it this way, or that way....what would THAT look like?" So there are endless possibilities in form and pattern to be explored that make what I do fresh and intriguing. I consider myself fortunate to have found a medium to express my creativity and have as a livelihood.