Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 18

THE LOVE OF LAPIDARY
For Ellis and Jackie Bray,"It's all about the rocks"

by Zach Smith |
zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

Depending on what the rock
says, a piece from the Brays
usually involves more than one
discipline to turn gems into
he paints, and he
jewelry. A combination of bead
turns wizened roots
and leather work, silversmithinto walking sticks.
ing or Jackie's specialty of wire
He writes poetry,
wrapping often come into play
and she, a master garwith more unique centerpieces
dener, etches jade. They
such as geodes or fossils. Just
both have a passion for
as Ellis cuts and polishes to
Bible study and American
enhance the rock's desirable
Indian artwork. But for all
traits, Jackie wraps in order
the interests separate and
to accentuate some feature of
shared between Jackie
the stone. Or shell, arrowhead,
and Ellis Bray, one saying
bear claw or bullet. All of them
stands true: They never
end up as either "cabbage" or
met a rock they didn't like.
"lettuce," according to Jackie.
"It started out as a
"Hot off the wheel if I like
hobby," Jackie says of the
them, I 'cabbage' on to them,"
husband-and-wife team's
she smiles. "If not, I wrap them
business, Country Roots
and they go into the 'lettuce'
Creations. She laughs,
box. 'Let us' sell these so I can
gesturing with hands fessupport my cabbage box."
tooned in blue- and greenTheir creations have earned
hued stones. "Well, you
the pair numerous awards
can't wear all of this, as
and even a few copycats over
hard as I try."
the years, but their true joy is
Growing up in cencrafting custom items to fit the
tral Missouri - Jackie
likes and personalities of their
in Eldon, Ellis in Vienna
customers. In such situations
- playing in the creeks
and woods looking for eye- Each piece crafted by Country Roots Creations starts at the cutting wheel. Ellis Bray shapes and later polishes the stone before Jackie is known to conduct
catching rocks came natu- handing it off to his wife, Jackie, who accentuates the rock's character with other techniques such as wirewrapping, beads and leather. interviews with customers to
help find their perfect piece.
rally to the Three Rivers
The rocks too have their own qualities and quirks to admire. Ellis lovingly
Electric Cooperative members. When they moved from Indiana back to their
childhood stomping grounds in the 1990s, the Brays started combining their turns a piece of Tiffany Stone, pointing out a small hole in the purple and white
rockhound roots with an admiration of jewelry design. They mined for sap- flecked pendant. Light beams through a piece of clear quartz he's adhered to
phires and rubies in North Carolina, crystals in Arkansas and twice a year the back of the stone.
"Other people would steer away from that - 'it's a flaw' - but look at how
took weeklong trips to the William Holland School of Lapidary in Young Harris,
pretty it is," Ellis muses. "Well, section four of my class: 'Rocks don't have
Georgia, to start learning the craft.
flaws, rocks got features!' "
Following the self-prescribed philosophy, "it's all about the
The Bray's enthusiasm for geology stretches well beyond what they can
rocks," Ellis eventually grew bored with cutting calibrated caboturn into necklaces, pendants, money clips, bola ties and other striking
chons - the standardized oval shape commonly found in gemaccessories. They're frequent fixtures at club and community rock and
stone jewelry. The more he noticed different colors and designs
gem shows around the Show-Me State, including the Osage Rock and
inherent in the stones, the more he wanted to cut outside the lines.
Mineral Club's June 29-July 1 show at the Eldon Community Center.
"I started bringing Mozarkite there, cutting it the way I saw it,
The duo has crafted numerous displays to share their love of
and right from the first realized I had a gift for that," Ellis says.
earth science. Two trays of seemingly ordinary creek rocks and
Soon after he found himself creating and teaching the school's
Eldon
minerals explode into wild rainbows of fluorescent color under
advanced cabochon course. "Cabbing is more art than science.
Ellis' ultraviolet lamps. Another exhibit showcases the near endScience works to control a few variables; art negotiates with many."
less variety in petrified wood and dendritic fossils of moss and
Of the 10,000 pieces Ellis has cut over the years, roughly oneferns. Along with their jewelry, these displays bring a smile and
quarter have been Missouri's state stone, Mozarkite. Because of the
sense of wonder to both kids and kids at heart.
variety of hues and patterns in the rock, which is difficult to cut but takes a
"We love to show rocks in central Missouri," Jackie says. "Part of it is educathigh polish, he says no two are alike. He forms each to highlight a unique trait
or image that he sees, such as a hummingbird hiding in Mozarkite or the tex- ing locals, and part of it is just for us."
"We've just tried to use our gifts in everything we do," Ellis adds. "And we
ture of eagle feathers lurking in a piece of petrified wood.
"Even before you cut it there's something about that rock," Ellis says. "You love learning."
have to be able to see the essence, the shape, the whole bit."
For more information on jewelry and other pieces by Country Roots Creations,
"The rock will tell you how it wants to be dressed," Jackie adds. "Ellis will
call Ellis and Jackie Bray at 573-392-6764 or email 1hombre@att.net.
orient it the way he sees it and I can guarantee almost every time I turn it."

S

18

RURAL MISSOURI | JULY 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2018

Contents
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Intro
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Contents
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 4
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 5
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 6
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 7
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 8
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 9
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 10
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 11
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 12
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 13
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 14
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 15
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 16
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 17
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 18
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 19
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 20
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 21
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 22
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 23
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 24
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 25
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 26
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 27
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 28
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 29
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 30
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 31
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 32
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 33
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 34
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 35
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 36
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 37
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 38
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 39
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 40
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 41
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - 42
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - July 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202002
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/videotest
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ruralmissouri/201010
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com