logo
about the siteabout steve howlettgallerytechnical informationfrequently asked questionshow it's donewhere to find the workcontacts and links
Steve Howlett - artist in wood



about Steve Howlett

exhibitions awards museums & collections

the artist

I have been working with wood professionally for over 40 years and, apart from two years training as a joiner, I am completely self taught. Between 1975 and 1985 I worked as a furniture maker, restorer and turner whilst also dabbling in sculpture. From 1985 to 2005 I focused exclusively on turning wood.

Initially, between 1985 and 1989, I concentrated on functional work and during this period I designed and made a small range of kitchen utensils which was sold in the David Mellor kitchen shop in London. I had no intention of becoming an artist, but I always tried to produce work of exceptional quality. However, in 1989 I started experimenting, out of necessity, with turning unseasoned wood. I had seen a beautiful holly bowl by Richard Raffan which had been green turned and had distorted with perfect symmetry. It occurred to me that if it was possible to predict the distortion of a piece with such accuracy then a whole new world of design was opened up which was not possible if one only used seasoned timber. It also struck me as an exciting challenge and, at this point, I could see no one who was developing this idea in anything but the the most mundane way

In 1994, I ceased turning functional pieces, preferring the excitement and challenge of taking green turning as far as I could. The focus of this work has been on creating an aesthetically successful marriage between the predictable distortion of wood as it dries and the highly refined forms I had developed over the years.

During 2005 I realised my eyesight was deteriorating and it was becoming increasingly difficult to create the perfect forms I was trying to achieve. This fact, along with some very painful RSI in my thumbs and elbow, forced me to abandon this stage of my career. I took a break from the workshop from 2005 to 2011, and focused on music in order to refresh my mind and aching limbs.

Now back once more in the workshop, I am using all my previous experience to create sensual, organic, abstract sculptures in wood and bronze.



top



selected exhibitions

My work has featured in numerous exhibitions since 1989 including:
2013/14
"Unlocking the Spirit", a retrospective of turned wood sculpture by Steve Howlett.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

2006
"Welsh Artist of the Year", St David's Hall, Cardiff. (catalogue)

2005
"Modern Pots: The Lisa Sainsbury Ceramic Collection", Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich, London. (catalogue)

2005
"new studio:new work", 54 The Gallery, Mayfair, London. - SOLO

2003
"Sculpting in Wood", The Art Shop, Abergavenny, Wales

2002
"sculpture and silk", 54 The Gallery, Mayfair, London. - SOLO

2002
"Interventions in Nature", Landscape Works from the Derek Williams Collection. Gallery in the Garden, Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire.

2002
"Flourishing Wales - Ffyniant Cymru", Crafts in the Bay, Cardiff Bay.

2001
"Modern Pots - Hans Coper, Lucie Rie & their contemporaries. The Lisa Sainsbury Collection", Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich. (catalogue)

2001
Society of Designer Craftsmen exhibition, Mall Galleries, London. (catalogue)

2000
Art Palm Beach, 20th Century Fine Art Fair, with Goedhuis Contemporary (catalogue)

2000
"Aur", Past Gold Medal Winners, Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales. (catalogue)

2000
"Sculptural Forms in Wood", Plateaux Gallery, London - SOLO

1999
International 20th Century Arts Fair, New York, with Goedhuis Contemporary (catalogue)

1999
Beverly Hills International Art and Antique Fair, with Goedhuis Contemporary (catalogue)

1999
"Eloge de la matiere", Carlin Gallery, Paris, France.

1999
"Contemporary Decorative Arts", Sotheby's, London

1998
"vessels & forms", Hyde Park Gallery, London - SOLO

1998
Aberdeen City Art Gallery, Aberdeen - SOLO

1997
"Vessels of the Tree", Miriam Shiell Fine Art, Toronto, Canada - SOLO

1997
Hyde Park Gallery, London - SOLO

1996
"Vessels in Wood", Hyde Park Gallery, London - SOLO

1995
Hyde Park Gallery, London - SOLO

1995
Society of Designer Craftsmen exhibition, Mall Galleries, London. (catalogue)

1992-96
"Decorative Arts Today", Bonhams, London. (catalogue)

1995
"Trends", Roger Billcliffe Fine Art Gallery, Glasgow.

1994
Alpha House Gallery, Sherborne, Dorset - SOLO

1992/93/96/98
"Art & Craft Exhibition", Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales. (catalogue)

1990
Castle Museum, Norwich - SOLO
top


awards, prizes, etc.

2007
The Society of Designer Craftsmen's Gane Trust Award for excellence in quality of design and craftsmanship.
2006
Highly commended. Welsh Artist of the Year Competition

2001
Elected Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

2000
Featured in "Modern Pots - Hans Coper, Lucie Rie & their Contemporaries. The Lisa Sainsbury Collection" by Cyril Frankel, published by Thames & Hudson.

1997
Special Projects Grant from the Arts Council of Wales.

1996
Gold Medal winner, Art & Craft Exhibition, Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales.

1995
Invited to join the Crafts Council Index of Selected Makers

1993
Elected Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen

1993
Prize winner, Art & Craft Exhibition, Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales.

1992
Prize winner, Art & Craft Exhibition, Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales.

1990
Special Award from the Welsh Arts Council.
top


collections

20th Century Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

The Derek Williams Collection, National Museum & Galleries of Wales, Cardiff.

The Hosomi Museum and Art Foundation, Kyoto, Japan

Also in many private collections worldwide.
top



what they say!

Below are some quotes written by others about my work:

"....Three vessels by the self taught British wood-turner Steve Howlett have been added to the Furniture & Woodwork Collection as examples of virtuoso wood-turning."

Taken from "in-view" news and events at the Victoria & Albert Museum (May/August 1996)



"Steve Howlett's vessels are at once organic, yet wonderfully tactile and sensuous. While the trumpet forms appear unpredictable, they are carefully constructed, each curve and cascade in perfect harmony with the overall vessel. The vessels raised on short pedestals, or cinched at the waist are perfect in their utter simplicity and purity. The two styles come together with the flower forms, a blend of the organic and the spiritual. These works have an affinity with the ceramics of many British studio artists such as Lucie Rie and Hans Coper."
Taken from "Collector's Choice Newsletter", Miriam Shiell Fine Art, Toronto. (Spring 1997).


top

The following is a selection from the judges comments at the 1996 Royal National Eisteddfod, published in the exhibition catalogue:

".......Steve Howlett, a maker at the pinnacle of his craft. Here we see a phenomenal talent working in Wales and we should recognise and enjoy the fact. To see a material pushed so skilfully and delicately to its limit and still retain such beautiful forms and sense of wood is a real joy."

David Petersen, artist blacksmith, designer & TV programme maker



"The work of Steve Howlett displays a command of the medium that deserves international recognition. Steve Howlett's wooden forms elevate the working in wood to an extraordinary level; although the medium has been extended to its limit, the manipulation is empathetic with the nature of of the medium."

Christine Kinsey, artist



"Some of the awards...... reflect a recognition of creative endeavours reaching new heights. The astonishing honed work of Steve Howlett - uncanny in its artistry and yet at the same time working with the very nature of where the material takes him, is a case in point.
...........presented us with works demonstrating particular high points born of a great maturing process. Vintage stuff!"

David Alston, Keeper of Art, National Museum & Galleries of Wales. (Now Galleries Director, The Lowry Centre, Manchester.)

about the sitegalleryabout Steve Howlettfrequently asked questionstechnical links

contacts and linkswhere to find itho it's done

The whole content of this website is copyright of
Steve Howlett.
Copyright © Steve Howlett 1996, 2001, 2008. All Rights Reserved


top