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Posts Tagged ‘carving’

Let’s Watch Father Carve This Handsome Bird

November 25, 2015 | by

This vintage video from the U.S. Department of Agriculture actually gives a very good primer on carving—frankly, it’s the best guide I’ve found, and the thigh-meat trick is indeed neat, even if the announcer’s chummy tone can grate. (Be sure to watch long enough to hear him intone, “There goes that drumstick for a hungry boy!”)

But it raises other questions. Mainly: What is “turkey time,” and why is it separate from “carving time”? Best of all is the rather menacing, passive-aggressive coda: “You can carve without these directions, but you can probably carve better with them.” As a random drunk in a bar once slurred at me when I said I didn’t want to go to the pier with him, “Fine, whatever, just thought you might want to see the Statue of Liberty!”

Don’t do me any favors, turkey-carvers of America. If you want to eat hacked-off hunks of meat, it’s your funeral! Whatever!

Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.

What We’re Loving: Saintly Comics, High Relief

January 11, 2013 | by

In 1974, David Esterly was pursuing a career as an academic when he encountered a limewood carving by the seventeenth-century master Grinling Gibbons. He gave up English literature, devoted himself to the art of high-relief carving, and in the process became not merely the foremost Gribbons expert, but a master carver himself. The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making details Esterly’s restoration of a Gribbons drop at Hampton Court, but it is more than this. “I was apprenticed to a phantom, and lived among mysteries,” he writes of that time, and the memoir is indeed as much about engagement with the past, and the preservation of ancient arts, as it is one man’s journey. If you are in New York, through January 18, you can see Esterly’s intricate and beautiful work on display at W. M. Brady and Co. —Sadie Stein

No matter how hard you try, you can’t help but stare at a train wreck, and Stephen Rodrick’s behind-the-scenes New York Times Magazine profile of Paul Schrader’s film The Canyons fills the guilty-pleasure, sweet-tooth fix quite nicely. A director desperate for a hit; a screenwriter (Bret Easton Ellis) more concerned with waging social-media jihads than actually writing; a porn star (James Deen) with a sensitive side; a budget that wouldn’t cover Kanye West’s ego; and, of course, Hollywood’s favorite child-star-turned-TMZ-punchline Lindsay Lohan: while this equation might not add up to a box office hit, it’s a fascinating look at the absurdity of Hollywood filmmaking. To see what’s become of the film so far, check out the trailer. —Justin Alvarez

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Carving for Blaze

October 29, 2010 | by

Traditional jack-o'-lantern carving is an art form governed by extreme constraints. Photograph by Matt Gillis.

By day, Van Cortlandt Manor is a historical estate where interpreters in colonial attire give tours, comb wool, and bake kickshaws (from the French quelque chose) at the hearth. The Hudson River borders the property. There’s a gift shop that’s quiet and renovated, and sells old-fashioned candy sticks. But in the weekend evenings leading up to Halloween each year, the manor becomes the site of the “Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze.” Visitors follow a path that winds through thousands of illuminated pumpkins arranged thematically—dinosaurs, Celtic knots, sea creatures, ghouls.

From August through October, for several summers, I worked as as jack-o'-lantern carver for the “Blaze.” The workers were a mix of site staff and local artists. One day, we would be assigned to work on the undersea kingdom, which meant carving kelp-shaped gashes on twenty or thirty jack-o’-lanterns. Another day, it would be crunch time on the pirate faces. Whether we were stationed in the boathouse next to the geese, or outside on benches under a tent, we worked among garbage bags full of pumpkin guts, arrays of handsaws, X-Acto blades, and wood- and clay-carving tools, as well as dremels, paper stencils, and drawings for inspiration. A first-aid kit was always on hand. Many of the pumpkins were polyurethane, which allowed them to be stored in cardboard boxes for future “Blazes” to come.

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