Women of Woodworking — Phoebe Everill, Drummond, Victoria, Australia
Born to Make
A lot of woodworkers become entranced with the craft through the connection made with their chosen medium. The act of transforming an idea and their revered materials and making them into another object, creating something entirely new — it speaks to one’s spirit on a frequency that only it can. It connects the mind, eyes, hands and heart. Some people are born to make things, as is the case with fine furniture maker, designer, and woodworking instructor Phoebe Everill of Drummond, Victoria, Australia.
“Put simply, I have to make, it is a part of my total well being and a deep passion that must be expressed,” she explains.
Everill has been woodworking for more than 45 years, and started her career as a teenager when she became fascinated by making things in the workshop with her father.
“He was my first teacher and mentor, training me in my late 20’s and then helping me set up and run my carpentry and furniture making business,” she shares, “He then pushed me to continue my development as a designer/maker in fine furniture and reaching, by studying at the Sturt School for Wood in NSW (New South Wales). After 2.5 years of training there I returned home to open my own school and making practice.”
Everill’s experience shows in her skillful technique and the variety of projects she has completed over the years. Her instagram feed features doors, Danish paper cord stools, tables, and of course scenes from the busy school workshop. Her passion for teaching is palpable even from half a world away. Everill also shares her expertise as a contributor for major woodworking publications such as Australian Wood Review.
With her many ways of supporting and enriching the woodworking community well beyond her own creations, Everill is very much at heart a fine furniture maker. In fact, her favorite items to build are some of the most difficult to create.
“Chairs, I am in love with the fact that they are the only pieces of furniture which must truly mould to the human form, be strong and also stand alone as beautiful objects,” says Everill, “The chair design and making process is a long and difficult journey full of good and also not good detours. You have to be gutsy to try and get a good product at the end and then accept it will take multiple evolutions to get to a truly resolved version.”
Everill shares that she also finds the invitation to collaborate or exclusively design a piece for an event as an opportunity to expand her practices as a maker.
“Anytime that I am invited to design and make for an exhibition is a very humbling and rewarding time, pushing new boundaries,” she says.
The timeless exploration of form and material that constructs the basis of the craft is something that Everill honors in her personal work, the classroom, and in her contributions to the fine woodworking community at large.
“I now teach regularly at the Sturt school which is exciting and demanding as students strive for really high end work. I have been very involved with the setting up of a peak professional guild of makers in Australia, Studio Woodworkers Australia. This organisation thru peer review selects makers for ‘accreditation’, a very satisfying thing to achieve. I served as chair of SWA for a number of years,” shares Everill.
Having accomplished a lot in her career, Everill’s focus and goals for her work remain straightforward.
“My most important goal is to simply keep making!” she says, “I am very interested in developing my carving and bringing more sculptural elements to my work. For my school I really just love watching students connect with the timber and find their own way of expressing themselves as their skills develop.”