Posted By admin on February 27, 2011
These carvings are done by David Esterly from upstate New York, United States.
And the most amazing thing about these carvings is that David Esterly is one hundred percent self-taught woodcarver.
One could say that David Esterly started carving accidentally.
While studying literature in England in the 1970s, David Esterly walked into a London church and had “a sort of conversion experience.”
It wasn’t the liturgy that moved him, but the deep-relief floral altarpiece carved in limewood by 17th-century master Grinling Gibbons.
Esterly’s first impulse was to write a book about Gibbons.
To better understand the carving, he bought limewood and chisels and began trying it.
Esterly had always assumed he had no artistic aptitude, but inching along by trial and error he was soon so deeply immersed in carving that he abandoned the book.
And before long, without a day’s instruction, he was making his living as a carver.
David Esterly has dedicated himself to the astonishingly deep, detailed, and delicate style that 17th-century master Grinling Gibbons pioneered.
Esterly carves all his pieces, as Gibbons did, from European linden, or limewood—a cousin of American basswood but better for this sort of carving—and leaves them without finish.
In 1998, Esterly returned to London to curate the Gibbons exhibition at the renowned Victoria and Albert Museum.
Quote from Esterly’s website:
“Don’t copy Gibbons or Arcimboldo or the Dutch still life painters; steal from them.
Revive the old vessels – trophy, overmantel, overdoor, drop – but pour new wine into them, and rethink the designs so that they work even in a minimalist setting.
Use a decorative vocabulary, but with sculptural intent.
Bring back the delight in trompe l’oeil, but (limewood being a monochrome medium) make it a more sophisticated illusionism, based on form not color.”