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George Nakashima中島勝寿
A picture of George Nakashima with his daughter, Mira. Source: Courtesy of the George Nakashima Foundation for Peace

George Nakashima – The Great Wood Master of All Time

George Nakashima – The Great Wood Master of All Time

George Nakashima中島勝寿
A picture of George Nakashima with his daughter, Mira. 來源: Courtesy of the George Nakashima Foundation for Peace

George Katsutoshi Nakashima was born in 1905. He was an American Japanese woodworkers and furniture maker. He was a true innovator on furniture design at the 20th century and also named the father of the American craft movement. His masterpieces are still true inspiration for many modern artists.

Nakashima’s famous signature design was his large-scale table that are made of substantial wood slabs but evidently unfinished edges. At the same time, it also incorporates multiple slabs connected with butterfly joints.

George Nakashima studio中島勝寿工作室
Nakashima working with a girl in the studio. Source: Courtesy of George Nakashima Woodworkers

Nakashima’s design philosophy is deep and inspirational. His design relied on principles as universal as possible, creating things without style, which are utilitarian and real. In such a world that handcrafting skills are avoided but Nakashima have faith in them, not only aiming to create an outstanding product, but in the sheer job of doing and becoming.

A set of iconic Nakashima furniture-中島勝寿傢俱品
A set of iconic Nakashima furniture. Source: Courtesy of George Nakashima Woodworkers

Some of the famous quotes from Nakashima, which are just beautiful:

“Our approach is based on direct experience—a way of development outward from an inner core; something of the same process that nature uses in the creation of a tree.”

“Each flitch, each board, each plank can have only one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential.”

Just beautiful. And inspirational.