Ed Hepp is a self-taught woodcarver, currently specializing in the creation of animals. He has carved fifty rocking horses, his first in 1992. On a trip to Oberammergau, Germany, Ed had the opportunity to observe some great carvers at work, which inspired the greater detail that he now carves into his own pieces. Inspired by the Washington County Open Studio Tour of 2007, he began carving carousel reproductions, and he has also restored a full size carousel horse. His interest has now broadened to other animals—the hare and the dragon.
Ed’s carvings are completely hand-made. Starting with a sketch, he then moves to working with the wood, creating the details as he carves. Blocks of selected hardwoods (bass, black walnut and maple, all aged and dried)are first glued into a rustic form, just as old-time Carousel masters did. The horses are roughly carved into one of several historic designs. Then Ed’s imagination takes over as adzes, chisels and files bring the horse to a refined shape with the breed of the horse, blanket, and trappings emerging during the carving. Ed hand-sands each piece to create a supple equine form and to prepare it for painting, then paints, signs, and numbers it.
Ed’s work appears in art shows, decorates distinguished homes, and is displayed in collections throughout the US and the Philippines. One of his horses can be seen at Bailey’s Cafe in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Ed attended Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks of New York State, served in the Army with the 82 Airborne, and spent his professional career as a surveyor. In addition to his carving, Ed is a lifelong falconer, flying peregrine, gyr and gos hawk. He makes all associated falconry furniture, from leather hoods and gloves to turned parquet or segmented perches. He has also worked as a fly tyer for Orvis.