Dan Phillips CF ’07 Interviewed in Texas Monthly
D. H. Phillips: A Dallas furniture maker creates pieces that are old and new at once.
Cabinet & Furniture Making graduate Daniel Phillips was interviewed in Texas Monthly magazine in June of 2016. Lauren Smith Ford writes:
“Dan Phillips hunches over a worn-in drafting table in the middle of his East Dallas studio, which occupies the second floor of the twenties-era warehouse that was once the Ford Motor Company assembly plant. Model Ts used to come off the line here (each of which went out the door with a “Built in Texas by Texans” decal on its back window), and the industrial space seems well suited to Phillips, who is in many ways a throwback to an earlier time.
Phillips’s handmade pieces—everything from mahogany bar stools to walnut chairs with channeled leather—are sleek and have the clean lines of mid-century design, but his work is rooted in traditional furniture-making techniques.
The son of an architect and an artist, Phillips grew up in Dallas, and in 2005, when he was 28, he enrolled in the Cabinet & Furniture Making program at Boston’s North Bennet Street School, a renowned craft and trade school.
Making furniture has been his full-time job ever since he graduated and returned home, though the 39-year-old father of two also paints (he shows at the Webb Gallery, in Waxahachie) and sings and plays guitar for the Dallas band True Widow. He always sketches with a pencil and a straight edge, likes to walk to work, and considers a computer to be a “necessary evil.” As he draws a chair for his bespoke furniture line, D. H. Phillips, one of the colorful tattoos that cover most of his body peeks out from his plaid work shirt.
A Blanket Chest ($3,500–$5,000) finished in a walnut-burl veneer. Photograph by Jeff Wilson
Phillips’s handmade pieces—everything from mahogany bar stools to walnut chairs with channeled leather—are sleek and have the clean lines of mid-century design, but his work is rooted in traditional furniture-making techniques. He favors classical proportions and eighteenth-century details like inlays, beading, and molding, and his desks, pencil-post beds, and jewelry boxes are influenced by motifs ranging from the crude to the sophisticated.
‘I love a naive six-board chest as much as I love a Federal period secretary,’ Phillips says. He often makes his commissioned pieces using hundred-year-old tools, and his workbench is lined with dovetail saws, chisels, hand planes, and other old-school implements. ‘I like making my pieces with the old stuff that guys before me used,’ he says. ‘I hope someone will take all my tools and use them when I am gone to keep making stuff.'”
Top photo: The drafting desk where Phillips sketches out all of his designs. Photograph by Jeff Wilson