Phil is a woodturner, just one in a long line going as far back as the ancient Egyptians. A woodturner creates items from wood using a lathe. The wood is attached to the lathe which rotates at up to 3,000 rpm while the turner shapes the wood using a variety of special tools.
Phil creates a wide range of both functional and decorative pieces, from mushrooms and ball point pens to larger bowls, platters and vases. Phil will make items on request; previous jobs have included handles for a horse-drawn plough, a set of 24 blind pulls to a Victorian design, chimneys for a dolls house, large finials for a period house near Moffat, and a new top for the RNLI flagpole at Kippford !
A major commission was a series of pieces ‘In Memoriam’ of a much-loved Monkey Puzzle tree in Dalbeattie that died; made from the wood of the actual tree. A technical challenge as the wood varies greatly in density.
The vast majority of Phil’s work is created from local woods, reclaimed, re-cycled or just diverted from the deadly log-burner. Small amounts of exotics, recycled or from sustainable sources are used where their qualities are appropriate e.g. for pens or finials.
In 2007 Phil set up Galloway Woodturners, a club for woodturners of all levels in Dumfries and Galloway, and served as club Chair for 8 years. The Club runs ‘taster’ sessions, an ‘Introduction to Woodturning’ course and hosts demonstrations by famous professional woodturners at its fully equipped workshop near Castle Douglas.
Phil was born in Manchester, went to university at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and has lived and worked in Manchester, Surrey, Toronto, Cambridgeshire, Berkshire and in Dalbeattie since 2002. A former IT professional, retired but busier than ever.
Phil continues to develop his technical skills and search for his own ‘voice’. That is, the unique ‘style’ which will enable a knowledgeable observer to say ‘that piece is by Phil Howard, I’d recognise it anywhere’.