Day 38: Wharton Esherick Museum

Jul;y 10, 2013, ITE day 38. No woodworker could visit the Wharton Esherick house without becoming awestruck, it is a marvelous and unique example of a craft artist’s lair tailored precisely to that artist’s needs and sensibilities. We were agog. 

It was OK to take photos outside the house but not inside, at first I was annoyed but then I reveled in my rare freedom to just soak up the experience without having to ponder the photo light and fumble the wide-angle lens. I last visited here in the early 1980s, when I photographed the house and wrote about it for Fine Woodworking magazine. That was a long time ago, today I was seeing the place anew through different eyes (well older anyway).

Anyone reading this blog who doesn’t know the Esherick story should please visit http://www.whartonesherickmuseum.org, and maybe buy one of the Esherick picture books available from the museum or from Amazon. Anyway here are a few of the photos we shot outside.

Wharton Esherick museum from the outside. The curves and leans off vertical aren't creeping old age, they're how he designed and built the place.

Wharton Esherick museum from the outside. The curves and leans off vertical aren’t creeping old age, they’re how he designed and built the place.

The misty painting on the tower echoes the branches. The house wasn't in the woods when it was built early in the 20th century, the woods have since filled in pasture land.

The misty painting on the tower echoes the branches. The house wasn’t in the woods when it was built early in the 20th century, the woods have since filled in what was hillside pasture.

Malcolm snaps a shot as the ITE travelers prepare to enter the shrine.

Malcolm snaps a shot as the ITE travelers prepare to enter the shrine.

Our docent, Donald Firth, graciously gave us extra time and put attention on our particular interests. Well, that's just about everything.

Our docent, Donald Firth, graciously gave us extra time and put attention on our particular interests. Well, that’s just about everything.

We also toured the Esherick wood shed, of special interest to our group, and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari outhouse that's nearby.

We also toured the Esherick wood shed, of special interest to our group, and the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari outhouse that’s nearby.

Ben Carpenter covets the walnut planks aging gracefully in the wood shed.

Ben Carpenter covets the walnut planks aging gracefully in the wood shed.

Like all good modern museums, one exists through the gift shop, where one can purchase books about Wharton Esherick, and prints by him.

Like many good museums, one exits through the gift shop, where one can purchase books about Wharton Esherick, and prints by him.

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