Here in the Northeast spring has sprung. The once barren trees looming over our heads are now sprouting with new life. As the lush green growth floods our landscape we once again marvel at the dramatic rebirth of these gentle giants and reminding us of the great role trees play in our world. From producing much of the oxygen we breath, to shielding us from the harsh summer sun, trees are often overlooked. But, for Mira Nakashima, trees play a large part in her life. As the daughter of the famous woodworker, George Nakashima, her upbringing was molded by the philosophies her father embodied.
Each tree, each part of the tree, has its own particular destiny. We roam the world to find our relationships with these trees.George Makashima
With the belief of working with trees deeply ingrained in her at a young age, Mira has continued her father’s tradition of making unique and memorable furniture after his passing in 1990. Surprisingly, she was not formally trained as a woodworker but as an architect.
Architecture was extremely good training for me as it was with my father. Not only can you visualize shapes and volumes on paper, but engineer the structure and visualize the piece in a given space.Mira Nakashima
She began her studies in architecture as an undergrad at Harvard and earned her Master’s at Waseda University in Tokyo. After receiving her Master’s, she returned home to New Hope, Pa in 1970. Once there Mira spent the next 20 years as her father’s assistant. In this role she quickly became skillful in woodworking and mastered the techniques that her father was renowned for.
When it was time for her to take over the “family business”, she strived to maintain a close connection to her father but over time her designs began to push beyond the boundaries set by her father.
I’ve created a few new designs out of necessity, sometimes in collaboration with my design assistants, sometimes in collaboration with the client, and always in cooperation with the wood and the woodworkersMira Nakashima
It is through this respect for the wood and the tree it came from, that you will not only find a Nakashima piece sitting in a lucky home but also within the walls of a museum. The ability to see the true potential of a raw material and allow it to be beautiful in its own special way is what makes Nakashima furniture truly one of a kind.