Meet Ray & Ila Kunc
The hobby of rock collecting evolved into a creative life style for Ray and Ila Kunc. Their search for many kinds of rocks and gemstones led them to wild out-of-the-way places where they also encountered other hobbyists who were turning their "finds" into interesting jewelry pieces and works of lapidary art. Ila enrolled in a silversmithing class, and Ray picked up on everything she was learning. They visited the big gem and mineral shows in Denver, and Tucson and Quartzsite, Arizona, accumulating an increasing variety of gemstone material from all over the world.
Since 1968 they have been working at the art and craft of jewelry making, using hand tools for their silversmithing projects. Using diamond-studded saw blades and polishing equipment, Ray is the stone cutter and polisher. They both do fabricating of metals, and Ila does lost-wax casting. Each rock that Ray cuts is examined with eager anticipation and sometimes disappointment as Nature does not make every rock perfect.
Ray and Ila have enjoyed sharing this interesting and worthwhile productivity. It is much more than a hobby — it is a way of life.
Ray and Ila are the parents of Karen Kunc, internationally renowned printmaker and professor of printmaking in the department of art and art history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.