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Mark Ellison talks to Kirsty Lang

How to Build Impossible Things

Hay Festival 2023, 

Aged 60, Mark Ellison has written his first book, How to Build Impossible Things, the result of 40 years as a carpenter – the best in New York, by some accounts. From building a staircase that the famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava called ‘a masterpiece’ to being profiled in the New Yorker, Ellison is a celebrity in his world. He has worked in the most beautiful homes you’ve never seen, specialising in rarefied, lavish projects for the most demanding of clients including the late David Bowie and Robin Williams. But as a native of the old steel town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his path was an unexpected one. Learn about his early life, his most challenging and fulfilling work, and perhaps pick up a tip or two for constructing your own bit of furniture.

Mark Ellison talks to Kirsty Lang