Feb. 16, 2007 – Feb. 16, 2007— In the wood planks nearest the heart of a tree is its history, its legacy. Those were the planks 20th century furniture maker George Nakashima chose to build his benches, desks, tables, and chairs.
Hundreds-and-hundreds of planks, some hundreds of years old waited patiently outside his studio for the furniture maker’s next project. Nakashima knew there was “one” perfect use for each.
He would tell you his job was to discover that use and give the trees he loved so much one more chance.
From 1940 to 1990 Nakashima sculpted his furniture from trees he was convinced had “souls.” For his vision and expertise, Nakashima has been called the elder statesman of the American craft movement.
Like putting together an intricate puzzle, Nakashima searched for those interesting patterns in the grains. His work was characterized by organic, one-of-a-kind pieces using slabs of wood with their rough, free-edges left intact. Most furniture makers would trim those jagged ends off.
“My kinship with the tree dates from the day I first stood among the great forest giants in the rain forest of Washington’s Ho River valley,” Nakashima said in his book “The Soul of a Tree.”
“It is an art- and soul-satisfying adventure to walk the forests of the world, to commune with trees … to bring this living material to the work bench, ultimately to give it a second life.”
Nakashima’s commissions included furniture for the home of former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
On Oct. 21 & 22, Dave Rago and John Sollo presented a 20th century modern auction in Lambertville, N.J. Featured in the sale was a selection of Nakashima furniture.
Read the entire article at www.LiveAuctionTalk.com.
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