Phil Irons was born in Sydney, Australia in 1959 and moved to the UK in 1977 when his parents decided to return after some 20 years. His varied career has covered boat building, forestry, the bicycle trade and most recently the travel industry in which he worked as a tour driver for a major travel company.
He started woodturning as a hobby in 1988 and due to the seasonal nature of the travel industry spent most winters turning until late 1993 when he met his wife and decided to turn his hobby into a full time occupation. Having had no formal training he has lent towards the artistic side of turning rather than production turning. Most of his work is one off using native timbers. Hollow forms are his favoured subject from pomanders (standing and hanging) to vases and bottles up to 24 tall. Production turning plays its part in the form of caddie spoons. He has made several thousand for Taylors of Harrogate to sell through their chain of Bettys Tea Rooms.
His most recent work has involved colouring woods, especially ripple sycamore, burr poplar and ripple ash to emphasise rather than disguise the natural figure. This compliments the simple aesthetic form and shapes that he likes to use in both his flatware and hollow forms.
He has received several major awards:
1998 Overall winner, Practical Woodworking & Turning Exhibition
1997 Winner, Good Woodworking Exhibition hollow form section
1996 Winner, Good Woodworking Exhibition hollow form section
1995 Overall Winner, Practical Woodworking & Turning Exhibition
He demonstrates his techniques and style both nationally and abroad. He demonstrated at the Irish seminar in 1997, demonstrated and taught in Finland at their national seminar in 1998, and has been selected to demonstrate at the British seminar in August 1999 for the first time.
He has recently written a book of turning projects and techniques, which is due on the shelves in a few months.
His work is sold in quality galleries throughout the United Kingdom. Some pieces can be found in private collections in the U K, USA, South Africa and Australia. Recently his largest hollow form to date was bought by the Museum Art in Nature, Twigworth, for their permanent collection.
He is on the professional register of the Worshipful Company of Turners. He is also a member of the Association of Woodturners of Great Britain, and the American Association of Woodturners.