Phillip Lloyd Powell, American Woodworker and Artisan

Most people don't know of Paul Evans' imaginative showroom partner and collaborator, Phillip Lloyd Powell (1919-2008). Powell was a trained engineer and a self taught woodworker in New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Part of the American Studio Movement, he hand-crafted sculptural wooden furniture, many on a large scale.

After working in Great Britain for the Army Air Corps., Powell settled in New Hope, Pennsylvania to establish his woodworking studio in 1947. He found New Hope to be a quiet riverside community and home to many artists and authors. Both James A. Michener and Aaron Burr were residents of the artistic and academic town. George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick, both of whom inspired Powell, had established woodworking studios in New Hope.

Powell's crafted wooden lamps and tables were well received, especially by the Saturday night Bucks County Playhouse crowd. His shop produced enough sales on Saturday evenings, he would not have to open for the following week.

Phillip Lloyd Powell Furniture Dining Table The Exchange Int

~Hand-sculpted and chipped walnut dining table with a slate surface

 

 

Phillip Lloyd Powell Furniture Archival The Exchange Int

 

In 1955 Powell opened a showroom with metal worker Paul Evans. The two collaborated on the production of works such as sculpted walnut cabinets with metal forged hardware, tables and screens. Powell shared the ideas and Evans provided a more artful approach to the designs. The two exhibited their works alongside George Nakashima, Sam Maloof and Wharton Esherick in a Museum of Contemporary Craft exhibition.

Phillip Lloyd Powell Cabinet Paul Evans Hinge Hardware The Exchange Int

~Paul Evans hardware attached to Phillip Lloyd Powell wall-mounted cabinet

One of their more popular collaborations, walnut with pewter inlay table pieces, sold through their showroom and department stores. The collection of decanters, pepper mills and chargers sold through Lord and Taylor throughout the late 1950's. After more than a decade, their showroom closed in 1966.

Pepper Mill and Shaker, Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell, 1957 The Exchange Int

~ Paul Evans and Phillip Lloyd Powell by Designer's Inc. 

After the closing of their showroom, Powell traveled more extensively and continued collecting objects and artifacts. He would incorporate the found objects  into his organic and textural forms. His travels through Sicily, England, Morocco, Japan, Spain and India inspired his later more expressive carvings.

American Studio Craft Bar Cabinet by Phillip Lloyd Powell, 1967 The Exchange Int

Phillip Lloyd Powell Furniture Bar Found Objects Interior The Exchange Int

~Interior of a bar cabinet with carved found objects as shelving mounts

 

In 2009, The James A. Michener Art Museum acquired and permanently installed Phillip Lloyd Powell's twelve-foot high painted and carved Door. Powell crafted the Door for the Craftsman 67 exhibition and later installed it in his home, which was later demolished.

Phillip Lloyd Powell Door Michener Museum The Exchange Int

~Phillip Lloyd Powell Door, James A. Michener Art Museum

Phillip Lloyd Powell New Hope, Pennsylvania

~Phillip Lloyd Powell, New Hope, PA. Courtesy of John Gehri Zerrer Builder

Today Powell's sculptural furniture designs can be found in some of the most important private collections across the globe.

 

Phillip Lloyd Powell, American Woodworker and Artisan

—Posted June 04, 2019

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