furniture: george nakashima

“What we are doing here is reality.  We have no axes to grind.  But I think there are times when one should go underground when he can’t stand what is going on in the outside world, and that is what we did a long time ago.  It is a thing of going into the catacombs and letting what is Ceaser’s be unto Ceaser.  I would say, get the hell away from the city, away from the civilization, and go way back into the headwaters of the Orinoco or the Brahmaputra.  Start over, crawl into little areas that are open to you and create little cells.  I’m not saying 10 million people could do it, but I think the craftsman could. We wouldn’t need urban planners or sociologists or college graduates, just people who can do things, who enjoy nature and the life of the spirit. – George Nakashima LIFE magazine 1970

George Nakashima (1905 – 1990) is one of the fathers of the modern American Crafts Movement. A pioneer of furniture design that emphasizes the natural, simple, untouched honesty demonstrated in the imperfections and live edge of a wood slab or burl, a philosopher who recognized the connection between man and nature in the nobility of the tree, and above all an immensely talented craftsman and trend setter. No one, it would seem, sums up Nakashima quite like himself and the honest, visionary and east/west influences that form the basis for The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworkers Reflections can’t help but impart inspiration and knowledge. He leaves a mesmerizing legacy of words, furniture, buildings and spirit that continues today in the museum and wood shop that was once the family home by his daughter, Mira. This spirit, talent and dedication is one of the threads we’ve used as a criteria to bind these pages.

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