Interview: Phoebe Everill, woodworker

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Females in creative trades are few and far between, and talented woodworker Phoebe Everill is no exception. Phoebe is breaking down barriers as a third generation woodworker. Phoebe had her own renovation business before focussing her attention on handmaking fine furniture. She also teaches classes and makes custom furniture at her workshop in Drummond, Victoria.

What drew you to become a woodworker?

My father originally, and then just a feeling of it being a part of who I am. I get enormous satisfaction in making things,  seeing things evolve from my hands. I love everything about wood. It’s a living material and unforgiving, you can’t enforce your design upon it, and then it rewards you with wonderful texture, colour and figure. I could pass on the splinters and the dust!

How would you describe your work?

I have a design style that pays tribute to the Japanese, Scandinavians and Shakers. I want to make pieces that will last, are functional and still beautiful. Clean, great joinery, not too decorative.

What has been your experience being a female tradesperson in a historically male field?

It was tough early on as a builder, less so now. People come to me already committed to learning so my gender is largely irrelevant. I have always believed that my work would speak and this crosses barriers.

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What does a typical day involve for you?

Gym and office until 8am, then in the workshop either making or teaching till 6pm, followed by more office work until 7pm.  In reality, it is a joy to work long hours and to be self-employed. I wouldn’t change a thing except the admin!

What have been some favourite recent projects or commissions?

My most significant work this year has been Collaboration 1. This piece has been a year in the planning, designing and making.  It has been a privilege to work with two of Australia’s finest tool makers to pull off a very unique piece.

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What part of the making process do you enjoy the most?

The problem solving, bringing the 3D image in my head to life, and then letting the design evolve without overthinking it!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Go wrong slowly” -  David Upfill-Brown  (my mentor). It refers to the making process and the care you need to take to bring a piece to completion.

You can see more of Phoebe's work at her website.