In my turned work I aim to create pieces that capture your interest, while deceiving you about how the piece may have been made, even if you’re a woodworker or woodturner. I strive to develop a style that is uniquely identifiable as my own, inspired by other woodworkers, and artists in other media and genres.
Growing up on a small farm near Palo Alto, I began my artistic career making wooden toys for my younger brothers. Other than lapidary instruction at a summer camp and high school art with Robert Arneson, I’m mostly self-taught in both jewelry and weaving. I like making beautiful things of wood because of its plasticity in color and pattern. Most of the wood I use is excess wood from furniture and cabinet makers, and flooring and interior finish contractors
Following a successful career in finance in Chicago and San Francisco, Peter Howkinson has been devoted to woodworking for the past 20 years. What had been a long term interest developed into a passion for searching for the “right” piece of wood, whose characteristics are exactly suited to its particular use. He has studied at the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, one of the country’s leading woodworking school sand participated in many Bay Area craft fairs, and open studios for Pro Arts and the City of Berkeley.
Near the end of the recent recession, I was feeling creatively stifled in my career as an architect. My children picked up on this and gave me the gift of a series of glass fusing classes at Stained Glass of Marin. After three sessions I was hooked, and here I am, 6 years later, still continuing to play and experiment with the media. Cutting, assembling, and fusing glass is great therapy, and I continue to feel inspired as I explore new techniques and approaches in my work.
When my working career began to gradually wind down, I asked myself many times, "What's next?" After a few random ideas and trials, it became clear that my long time hobby of working with wood was the most natural thing for me to do. After taking several classes and acquiring a few skills at the Alameda Woodworkers Academy, making boxes, hardwood earrings and puzzles became more than just a pastime for me. I love finding wood with unusual grain and coming up with ways to utilize various designs to make pieces that are both useful and aesthetically pleasing.
I've been turning art pieces for decades and have finally decided to make it my day job. I started by turning the handrail posts when renovating my Victorian home in Berkeley but quickly moved to bowls which provide me with more creative dimensions. I only use downed wood from the urban forest--city trees that have fallen or need to be removed for some reason. The finishes are non toxic. If you ever lose a favorite tree give me a call so I can make a lovely memory piece out of the trunk.