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Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Sue Hayes | 0 comments

Phil Cottell – A Suggestion for Politicians!

A short time ago Phil was asked to carve, a ‘Talking Stick’ from locally grown Yellow Cedar. This was designed by the excellent & hugely talented Coast Salish artist, Chris Paul, a member of the Tsartlip nation. Once finished the design will show the head of an Owl – expounding wisdom one can hope….

A ‘Talking Stick’ has traditionally been used by First Nations to pass around from member to member allowing only the person who is holding the stick to speak. This enables all those present at a council meeting to be heard; consensus can force the stick to move along to assure that the “long winded” don’t dominate the discussion; and the person holding the stick may allow others to interject.

And so we come to our two main suggestions: Firstly, that a ‘Talking Stick’ be part of all Provincial and Federal Government meetings and limited to a speaking time of 10 minutes. Some hope! Perhaps we could produce a list of societies, organizations, clubs, mainstream media (or specific individuals) that could benefit from the introduction of a ‘Talking Stick’….Some chance!
Secondly, that a revised form of ‘Talking Stick’ be introduced which discourages speakers from proposing the usual inane nonsense, well beloved by politicians of all parties. This could be called the B….. Stick – no; good manners prevents further discussion.

So on to Philip Cottell; Phil was born at Ladysmith, Vancouver Island. After completing a doctorate at Yale (Phil denies being a member of the Skull & Bones fraternity and so was denied the pleasure of meeting the former President of the US, Mr. George H. W. Bush) he returned to his native B.C. to take up a professorship at UBC. With time spent working in forestry and wood products research, retirement beckoned. Phil returned to the Island in 1997 and with great enthusiasm and skill began devoting his time to woodturning.

From the following images you can see shelves of various woods ‘seasoning or drying prior to being turned. Phil particularly enjoys creating beautiful as well as useful objects, utilizing salvaged wood from local trees — maple, arbutus, dogwood, cedar and others.

Many of these pieces are allowed to dry for up to 3 years before being turned.


Phil’s subjects range from organic burl bowls,  salad bowls and sculptural vessels to coloured, wall-hung plaques that take their cues from the wood grain and figure.
As with many local artists, Phil strongly believes in conservation of our resources.


You can find lots of Phil’s magnificent work at Side Street Studio  in Oak Bay Village or on line at 



A World Made By Hand


Posted in Coast Salish, first nations, fruit bowl, local crafts, maple bowls, oak bay, owls, PHIL COTTELL, salad bowls, shop local, talking stick, Tsartlip nation, wedding gifts, wooden bowls



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