photo of Patti Jones on her family's farm with the black walnut tree

The old black walnut tree

I recently traveled back home to visit my mom for a few days on the family farm in Wythe County, Virginia. I love that farm, which has been in my family for so many generations. The living monument that has stood guard over the farm all these years is a huge black walnut tree. In its younger days, it served as a property marker. In recent years, the graceful old tree has offered a place to hold countless family picnics. And to every generation, the tree has offered...

Photo of a hand-woven pine needle basket that Emmaline gifted to Patti.

A precious gift

Recently I was given a very precious gift. My dear friend, Mrs. Emmaline Davis, gifted me with a handmade pine needle basket given to her many, many years ago. Knowing that I make pine needle baskets, she knew I would appreciate the workmanship and love that went into making that little treasure. It is so delicately constructed with just single needles and thread! I was so touched. I love Mrs. Emmaline and cherish her friendship, and I know this is a special basket that she has given...

Photo of a hand-woven pine needle basket that Emmaline gifted to Patti.

A precious gift

Recently I was given a very precious gift. My dear friend, Mrs. Emmaline Davis, gifted me with a handmade pine needle basket given to her many, many years ago. Knowing that I make pine needle baskets, she knew I would appreciate the workmanship and love that went into making that little treasure. It is so delicately constructed with just single needles and thread! I was so touched. I love Mrs. Emmaline and cherish her friendship, and I know this is a special basket that she has given...

Lifelong melody

“Where words fail, music speaks.”Hans Christian Andersen The music in my life started at a very young age. My mom sang "Jesus Loves Me;" my great aunts taught me "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and I loved to bang on the old upright piano in what we called the "front" room. I guess my mom got tired of the banging and my begging to learn piano, so lessons started when I was about nine. Once a week, I was allowed to leave class and go to a special room at...

"Fishing with My Dad" wire and paper sculpture

Fishing with my Dad

Some of my earliest memories of fishing were with my dad. He loved to fish! On the opening day of spring trout season, we'd head down to the river with a picnic basket packed with baloney sandwiches, a thermos of warm coffee, and a bucket of big fat juicy worms. My mom, dad, and I would leave early to get to the best spot and stand and wait on the river bank with all the other anglers until noon. No one dared dip their line in before...

Image of Celebrate Life, a sculpture in wire and cut paper on driftwood by Patti Jones.

First piece in a new series celebrates life

Take Time to Stop & Smell the Roses: Appreciating the little things I am a breast cancer survivor. As I work on this Wire People collection, "Childhood Memories," I am reminded that as terrible as breast cancer is, it can never take away your precious memories. This collection is dedicated to my mom and grandmother. My grandmother was diagnosed before I was born and passed away when I was a young girl. My mom received her diagnosis last summer at the age of 88 and is a strong fighter and...

The first set of WirePeople is the Childhood Memories collection

Wire People sculptures recall childhood, celebrate life’s singular moments

Do you fight the tendency to overdo it? Many of us do! We over-eat, over-work, over-drink, over-stare-at-our-phones. Whatever it is, if one is good, two must be better! And we live in a consumer culture that has grown to glorify getting more and more stuff. So much so that now one of the most popular shows on television is all about getting rid of your things. Sometimes, as the cliché goes, less really is more. That has proven to be true for me as I've been exploring wire sculpture...

Paw Umberger gave space for inspiration

My grandfather, Homer Blanton Umberger, was born and raised on the family farm in Wytheville, Virginia in 1897. The land had been given to his family as part of a land grant from the King of England many years before. My grandfather lived on that farm, the Reed Creek Poultry Farm, all his life. He married Margaret Dean and had one child, my mom, Marjorie Dean. She married my dad, Maitland Wassum. More than 120 years later, my mom and my brother's family still live on that...