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Friday, April 4, 2014

National Woodworking Month Woodworker Spotlight: David Esterly

About a year ago I somehow became aware of a book written by a lime wood sculptor. I think I found a review of it online. After ordering the book I was amazed by the story as well as the talent of the author, David Esterly. The book is called The Lost Carving: A Journey To The Heart Of Making

In his book, Mr. Esterly chronicles how during the 1980's, he was asked to restore a 17th century carving made by Grinling Gibbons for Hampton Court in England. The ornamental carving had been badly damaged in a fire and it was the authors task to restore the damaged carving as well as recarve lost sections of the carving. 

While the book tells this story, it also gives insight into the mind of the artist and creator. In additon, Mr. Esterly carefully considers the process of restoration and conservation. The blend of all of these concepts is what inspired me and gave meaning to the subtitle of the book. When a person takes on the challenge of restoring an item, they find themselves looking at that item from many different angles to try to get a fuller picture of the intent of the creator. I was immediately drawn to this concept as it is what I do all of the time.

The comparison between Mr. Esterly and myself stops there! This man can not only write but he can carve. A look at his website shows the incredible detail that is achieved in his carving. I was beyond words when I first viewed his work online. His carvings seem to defy what is possible with wood and dazzle the observer with their intricacy. 

 Below is a photo of his book and I urge anyone interested in art or the creation process to read it . I find that I keep buying copies of it and giving them away! I have also included several photos of his work and a link to his website. I am pleased to pay homage to such an artist and woodworker on my blog and encourage the reader to pursue this man's creations.


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