Streams

David Esterly on the Lost Carving

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Woodcarver David Esterly talks about the art and craft of carving wood. He is the foremost practitioner of Grinling Gibbons’s forgotten technique, which revolutionized ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s with its spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage.  When fire at Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace destroyed a Gibbons masterpiece, Esterly was asked to replace it. He tells the story of that challenge in The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, and explores the connection between creativity and physical work.

Guests:

David Esterly
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [6]

Catherine Traykovski from 46 west 86th st NY 10024

Appreciate Lenny Lopate's insight on new and old crafts. Linking science and art with kids at Natural History Museum NYC and local public Schools with Musical apps by Bruce Adolph to help kids focus on art work and interrelated science and art in project environment at museums and in the classroom with art and conservation themes.
wwww.freudenbergarts.com cmeoa1@gmail.com

Aug. 06 2013 02:15 PM
Carl Krebs from Houston , la 71043

Of mr. Easterly , I understand he is a great man in the world of carving . And he verily well is . Spending 39 years learning his craft . I called mrs easterly several years back . I was interested in learning his trade and skill of woodcarving .he turned me down . Sadly what I find is that mr easterly has revived a long lost art , but is 68plus yrs old . The art he has worked so hard to learn will die when he does because few in the current world share the hand work interest as few do these days I begged him to teach me . . I scroll saw and do extraordinary fretwork and detail inlay work . I was wanting to further my end of my career as a carpenter by learning the two final crafts I knew very little of at the time . And they are carving , in natural forms gibbons did , and turning on the lathe the way holtzappffel did . What is it to learn something that should be passed on to others as to not to be lost to humanity. A god given gift of learning and skill . But to be so selfish as to not want to teach another human being the gift he has been given and learned . And it along with many people like him that take this type of work to their grave out of narcissism , selfishness , greed , arrogance . You do not aspire to help your fellow man you seek to keep secrets that serve no purpose because , mr . Esterly , this fantastic beautiful art will die when you do in around 25-30 yrs . You have given a few books to humanity , but you refuse to give of yourself and your soul so as to elevate others in happiness you have achieved . That Seems to be a lonely world you live in ! God bless you , sincerely .........Carl a. Krebs ........Hartchase@aol.com
P.s. I am disabled, I can barely work my gardens , and have sometimes a hard time getting around , and I'm only 52yrs old . But I strive to give all of my knowledge to anyone that wants it . My purpose in life is to enrich others lives , what is your gift to humanity ?

May. 29 2013 06:03 PM
paul kollmar from nyc

'''sorry for this delay;; having been a member of the ROYAL OAK SOCIETY//[i.e. AMERICAN BRANCH of the NATIONAL TRUST== for years..){ and right in the nyc metro area*---} ESTERLEY was first publicized with his efforts in their journal.##==15 years ago../// Upstate New york was the locale... / AS A PROFESSIONAL SCULPTOR,...
there is practically NO need to comment on this phenomenon// everyone should use their hands!!! computers are a great medium , but only to an- other end..>> now, why weren/t you at the BRADY gallery,s opening last night.?? ???? we were ALL there for the drawings expo 2013???= paul kollmar>

Jan. 29 2013 10:41 PM
Catherine Traykovski from 46 WEST 86TH STREET

THIS WAS AN AMAZING SHOW ON MADISON AVENUE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO READING THE BOOK AS I AM A PRINT MAKER WHO IS A DEVOTEE TO TILMAN RIEMENSCHNEIDER HAVING STUDIED IN GERMANYY FOR TWO YEARS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HEIDELBERG AS A TRANSLATOR, HISTORY OF PHILOSPHY MAJOR AND FINE ART. AT THE PRESENT I CREATE SOLAR PRINTS UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF DAN WELDEN MFA AND kATHY CARRACIO Who IS MY PRINT MAKER AT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ARTin nyc. WWW.FREUDENBERGARTS.COM

Jan. 21 2013 07:58 AM
carmel berkson from new york city

Having heard David Esterlee on WNYC yesterday, I frankly must immediately respond by saying I feel a real affinity as you seem to be one of the very few who truly understands the carving artist's world. I would love to meet you sometime, David.
As sculptor, I tried hard over a period of many years to get to the heart of the great sculptural art of ancient India and the viewer's responses, especially in the caves at Ellora, Maharashtra, India.
If you care to, we might be able to enjoy the connections amongst the great works. After 40 years in India, I now permanently live in New York.
My publications: Ellora, Concept and Style, The Life of Form in Indian Sculpture, etc Carmel Berkson

Jan. 09 2013 12:38 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Hmmm, listening to this segment and the previous one with Jeff Bridges, I'm thinking I need to go back and re-read "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

I'm serious.

Wonderful segment and reminds me of the spate of books a couple of years ago about working with our hands and how very few people in our society do that any more. The disposable society. All connected.

Jan. 08 2013 01:27 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.