Mike Phillips, Wood and alabaster sculpture
“My work is unpretentious and represents my attempt to imagine and create simple vessels which are, above all else, pleasing to the eye because of their purity of form.” ~Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips was born in New Mexico and is a direct descendant of the Choctaw Indians.
In his youth, Mike was exposed to Apache, Navajo, Pueblo and Zuni cultures which inspired him to create turned wood and alabaster vessels from their designs, including unique pieces which combine these two materials.
The woods Mike uses are usually grown locally in Nevada or in Hawaii. Because his forms are classic and simple, he seeks out wood with naturally-occurring contrast of textures and colors. This includes spalted pine, manzanita burls, apricot with bark retained, milo, and two-tone woods such as ebony.
Mike tries to purchase his wood in the field near where it grows so that he can select specific characteristics that he has in mind.
To create his masterworks, Mike partially lathe-turns the wood while it is still green, then allows it to dry for a year or more in the arid Nevada climate. Finally, when the wood is thoroughly dry and not at risk of cracking, he does the final turning and finishing.
In his book, 500 Wood Bowls, author Kevin Wallace says of Mike’s work: “Phillips’ vessel was selected for its purity of form.” His work has been included in the Nevada Museum of Art and in collections all over the United States.
Mike has made his home in Reno, Nevada since 1976.
Are you interested in purchasing Mike Phillips’s work? Please contact Rogoway Turquoise Tortoise Gallery for more information.