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The Maker

Phil Donovan

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A Little About Me

Humble Beginnings

Born from a passion for creating handmade items, I started Sugar Creek Workshop in 1989, making small furnishings and other Shaker-inspired items in the basement of my home. In 2001, I moved a small outbuilding from across town that was to be torn down to make room for a new building.  Built around the turn of the 20th century, it was given new life as the world headquarters of Sugar Creek Workshop.

At the time, I was primarily making and selling Shaker oval boxes for sale.  Both decorative and useful, these boxes were extremely popular.  I sold them as fast as I could make them.  Keeping up with demand started to become work, though, and I found myself enjoying the creative part less and less.  I decided to take a step back and rediscover the joy of the process of making.  I stopped selling my work but continued to make furniture as the spirit moved me.

I have been interested in experimenting with materials of all kinds to discover how they can be integrated into my work.  I have always had a lathe in the shop and, whenever I used it, I enjoyed seeing an item develop as the wood turned.  Designs can be refined "on the fly" as the character within the wood is discovered, allowing me to follow the will of the wood rather than the other way around.  I like that.  Using an industrial strength lathe from the 1960s as well as modern lathes complete with electronics and digital readouts, I am now focusing my creative side on woodturning.  I even use a foot powered lathe on occasion!

What started as a woodworking  hobby that turned into a love for the craft is now an opportunity to create beautiful items of wood. I use only the finest, hand-picked materials and finishes in every project, and do everything to use local sources as much as possible.  Even my firewood shed is a good source of ugly wood that can be turned into a thing of beauty!

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Spring Pole Lathe

Sometimes in today’s modern world we can forget the beauty in the simple, natural, beautiful, and handmade. The foot-powered spring pole lathe reminds me of those concepts.

Spring Pole Lathe.jpg
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The Craftsman

Turning Wood Into Things

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Member, Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers

Juried Member, League of New Hampshire Craftsmen

Carpenter at Work
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