Day Trips

Terry Jones of Jewett in Leon County is a shade-tree sculptor who destroys illegal firearms in the making of his art

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Terry Jones of Jewett in Leon County is a shade-tree sculptor who destroys illegal firearms in the making of his art.

"If I had a real shop or studio, then it would feel like a job," Jones says. His workbench is under a big oak tree in his front yard. After being raised in Houston, he purchased his grandfather's old home and moved back to the country, where his parents were raised.

About 16 years ago, Jones entered the antique business. "I was sitting around the shop with all this quality junk when I started tinkering with making things out of the odds and ends," he says. "What else was I going to do with the stuff that wouldn't sell?"

Jones started piecing together old wrenches, car parts, and kitchen utensils into fish, horse heads, and abstract pieces. It would take someone hours to decipher all of the found objects that go into a 3-foot sculpture after Jones gets through cutting, bending, and welding.

High school art class is the most formal training Jones has received. After moving to Leon County, he spent 18 months working on a construction job where he learned to weld. When he sees a piece of metal, he thinks how it might fit into a sculpture. He sorts the parts that might fit together into piles for future projects. Occasionally, friends bring him scrap metal. One of them was the Leon County sheriff.

"The sheriff wanted a sculpture that would make a statement about illegal weapons," Jones said. Using seized weapons and a double-barreled shotgun for its nose, he made a horse head. Soon after that project, the Butler Longhorn Museum in League City commissioned a cow head using confiscated weapons from its local police department.

When Jones goes to pick up a load of firearms to be destroyed, two witnesses certify that he spikes the barrels and welds the guns' actions. "All the paperwork is the hardest part of using the guns," he says.

You can see Jones' art in front of his store. He also has two pieces in Marble Falls' "Sculpture on Main." In the sculpture park in Lampasas, he installed a giant spider with feet made from gasoline-pump handles. One of his favorites is a dolphin that he did for the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine.

For Jones, his art is as much about having fun as it is about entertaining those who view his work. "I'm not a welder," he says. "My welding is only strong enough to support a smile."

Terry Jones is at Trademart Antiques on Main Street (U.S. 79) in Jewett Thursday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm where he sells "quality junk," knives, and his sculptures. He also raises parrots. You can see his work online at

942nd in a series. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips" 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Terry Jones, Butler Longhorn Museum, Jewett, Marble Falls Sculpture on Main, Trademart Antiques

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