Philip Bourke

Andrea Hargreaves talks to Australian turner Phillip Bourke —UK Woodturner Magazine

“I started turning in the early 80s on a small Macmillan lathe with a 300mm-diameter swing-over bed which I used for about 12 years. On it I turned small bowls, mushroom sets, weed pots, candle sticks and the like which were given to friends and family as gifts.

“I now use a lathe which was designed by me with the help of my father-in-law who put it together in my workshop.

“I have had no formal training or lessons and am mainly self taught – by reading books and watching people turn. I took up turning as a hobby but it has become a passion while still remaining a hobby, as I only sell to the public through one gallery in Sydney – Gannon House Gallery.

“I like to turn green timber and am also into hollow-turning artistic pieces based on ancient cultures, furniture and toy making.

“I prefer to use Australian timbers such as coolibah red gum, tallow wood, brindle box, yellow box and what other burl I can get.

“Pieces range from 100mm (4in) diameter by 100mm (4in) depth to 900mm (35 1/2in) diameter to 700mm (28in) depth. My work is tactile and uses such techniques as sandblasting, wire brushing, ebonising and carving to achieve a balance between the smooth interior and the rough exterior of any given piece. I want people to touch it, so I strive to bring out the colour and beauty in the timbers I use. That is why I use burls – because of the colours they produce.”

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