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Artist Feature: Bill Housley

Artist Feature: Bill Housley

Bill Housley is one of the artisans featured in the gallery. He works with wood and produces beautiful and functional bowls, lidded boxes, salt and pepper grinders, and toothpick holders.


Bill was previously a cosmetic dentist but switched to carving wood instead of teeth. He has stated that, “it is just another form of arts and crafts!” Although he has worked with wood for decades, Bill only began turning wood after his retirement from dentistry.


What sets Bill’s work apart is that he uses a Rose Engine. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Rose Engines were used by the European elite to turn out intricate wooden figurines and such. Wood turning was an all-but forgotten craft but, recently, Rose Engine lathes were produced for the first time since the nineteenth century at a much lower cost. Bill Housely is the proud owner of engine 38, the only one in the state of Maine.


The Rose Engine allows for detailed designs that a typical lathe is not able to produce. It has special components that, while the block of wood is spinning, can move in and out, up and down, and side to side. The results of Bill’s vision and the complex and unique machine he uses can be seen in his stunning work. To see more of his work, visit his page on our website, here.