Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!
In today’s episode, I speak with Mark Ellison, a New York City based carpenter who has been in the business for more than 40 years.
While he’s spent his career working on some of the highest end projects in Manhattan for some of the wealthiest people on the planet, he was relatively unknown until Burkhard Bilger profiled him for The New Yorker in 2020. Soon after, he was approached by a literary agent and asked to write a memoir.
That book became Building: A Carpenter’s Notes on Life & the Art of Good Work, which was released last month. It’s part memoir, but also part philosophy book, getting at the root of what makes us human and how hard work factors into that. It’s a deep read and one that I truly enjoyed.
In addition to carpentry, Mark is also a musician and music was a major thread of our conversation. (You can listen to his work on his website). I appreciate that Mark’s approach to music, carpentry, and life is multidisciplinary. He seems to be constantly borrowing ideas from one aspect of his work and transposing them to other areas of his life, which is a sign of true creativity to me.
This conversation also reminded me of a newsletter issue that I wrote last year examining Artistry vs Craft. This was a topic Mark and I discussed at length, and it’s interesting to look back on how I viewed the subject last year versus how Mark sees it now.
I really enjoyed talking with Mark and I appreciate you taking the time to listen to this episode!
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