The Soul Of A Tree: A Master Woodworkers Reflections Paperback – Sep 1 1988
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"An impressive book that effectively conveys the textural qualities and sensitivity of this master craftsman's use of wood" -The New York Times"Today's increasing reverence for nature, truth, simplicity and the independent spirit makes the life, work and philosophy of George Nakashima especially meaningful."-Town & Country"From [Nakashima's] tables and chairs flows the unadorned beauty of the rhythms of nature."-Smithsonian"George Nakashima, the foremost master of the craft."-Time
About the Author
Nakashima is a Kodansha International author.
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On a personal note I had a lady call me years ago to fix up `some old furniture' she and her husband had bought years ago (in the `50's I believe.) Seems when they were young college professors they found this young oriental guy down the road who made furniture in his garage. When I looked at the furniture I told her that her young oriental friend had become quite famous and showed her this book. She was flabbergasted. What she wanted me to do was to nail up some chairs that had worked loose over time. I refused, of course, and explained to her that these were valuable pieces that should be cared for properly. I also encouraged her to contact Nakashima's Conoid Studio (if it still existed) to let them catalogue the pieces. Even after years of use by a family with kids living in the sticks the pieces were obviously crafted with meticulous care and held up surprisingly well. It was a real joy to bring them back to daily use.
Any woodworker should have this book not on the shelf, but closer, to the workspace at all times.
Nakashima's work was at its height in the late 60's and 70's and the works reflect that. It appears a little dated but wonderful nonetheless.
I thought the first half of the book was especially enlightening. It is a short biography of Nakashima's early years and shows how these experiences directly influenced his works. When I first saw the book I thought that this part might be a little boring but I was pleasantly suprised that it was engaging and light in tone.
My style and Nakashima's style are different, as is to be expected. However, learning from and about the masters in woodworking is part of becoming a better woodworker yourself. This book was a balanced overview of GN's life and work and one I highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about one of the masters as well as to prompt ideas and concepts inside of you.
I think this book (or at least the Introduction) should be required reading for every woodworker, professional or amateur. "There are trees... which in their single lives have spanned the entire history of civilized man. We woodworkers have the audacity to shape timber from these noble trees." When I read this, I knew that George Nakashima had indeed touched (and been touched by) the Soul of a Tree.
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