Jeffrey & Phyllis Hills
Your portfolio is diverse. How has having such flexibility helped your career?
I love making coffee and dining room tables and often times the client would say that they needed dining room chairs. Rather than sending them elsewhere I began to build chairs myself with an emphasis on beauty and strength. That
same client may also need patio doors and with my boat building
experience, I found that building for outdoor use was an easy
Has living in the Southwest aided or impeded your woodworking business?
Living in Taos New Mexico has been inspiring and terrific for my business. We are a community with many artists so that the encouragement and inspiration has been helpful and rewarding. Being represented by the Wiford Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe opens me up to a sophisticated art market.
You build/design boats, cabinets, jewelry boxes and more. What has guided your decisions on what to build?
times a beautiful piece of wood will inspire a project - dining room
tables, coffee tables, cabinets with doors; first I see the wood and
then try to find a perfect use for it and give it a life and a future as
a well crafted piece of furniture. The challenge of engineering a piece of furniture to give it functional strength and longevity is rewarding.
In what way does your wife contribute to your business?
have been fortunate to have my wife (of 42 years), Phyllis help me in
many areas of my business, particularly design, scale and proportion; as
she has a good eye and a feel for such matters. In
addition to handling all the business matters in the shop she is always
ready to lend a hand or two as well as being a skilled finishing person.
What has been the best opportunity or event to happen to you because of woodworking?
I have been especially proud of being named a Living Master by the
Taos Arts Council.
has been especially rewarding to have people request and buy my
furniture from all over the country - the east coast, Minnesota, Texas,
Alaska, Arizona - just to mention a few. I must add that in Taos I have traded furniture for art with many world renowned artists which is something I am very proud of.
If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
would have been wonderful to have started full time wood working
earlier in my life, but it in no way takes from the joy and pleasure of
spending the day in my shop making "saw dust and shavings".