The Worshipful Company of Turners

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Wizardry in Wood

Phil Irons

Born in Sydney, Australia, Phil grew up with a father who was a woodworker and antique restorer so wood has always paid a major role in his life.

Phil’s first introduction to woodturning came at the age of 13 when his father acquired an 1870’s American cast iron child’s treadle lathe. Woodturing became a serious hobby in his late 20’s and after a six year spell in the travel industry, he took the decision become a professional woodturner in 1994. His knowledge and appreciation of English timbers was initially gained from working as a tree surgeon / forester for several years.

He has won numerous awards in national competitions and is regularly invited to teach and demonstrate his techniques nationally and internationally including in France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Norway, New Zealand and the USA. Phil’s hands on teaching style has meant that over the past 19 years his annual course at Dreschelstube Neckarsteinach, the woodturning school in Germany, has attracted hundreds of woodturners keen to be taught about form and function in woodturning.

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Phil is the author of the best selling project book ‘Woodturning: Two in One‘. The book has been translated into 9 languages and to date is the only English woodturning project book to have been translated into Italian.

He is best known for his vessels and hollow forms with clear, fluid shapes and flowing lines. He uses contemporary coloured dyes to enhance hidden figure in pale woods, mostly sourced from tree surgeons and firewood merchants.

With the addition of threaded lids, his vessels lend themselves to becoming urns. He specialises in these beautiful functional pieces and they are highly sought all over the world. Phil describes his urns as ‘functional art’ that can be displayed whether they contain ashes or not.

It is a huge honour that people want to keep the ashes of their loved one in a piece of my artwork.

He is the current President of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain and a member of the American Association of Woodturners.

Phil Irons


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