We believe that a man's Lodge should reflect his own personal style. We're forever on the hunt for cool things for our space. Long fans of the craftsmanship of George Nakashima, we were surprised to learn that his workshop and studio is less than an hour's drive from our place here in Pennsylvania. So naturally, we had to take a look.
A little background on George- he was born in Washington in the early 1900s and after studying Architecture, began to learn about carpentry and woodworking. He traveled through Europe and Japan, learning about architecture, design, and wood craft. During World War 2, like others of Japanese descent, he and his family were interred in a labor camp in Idaho. This was a formative time for him as he met and studied with another craftsman in the camp, Gentauro Hikogawa and learned Japanese woodworking traditions. After his release, a mentor of his invited George to New Hope, Pennsylvania where he started his own workshop.
The George Nakashima style is influenced by his connection to nature and love of natural wood. One of his most well-known signatures is the large-slab table with open, raw edges. He pioneered the technique of leaving the edges natural on the tables, showing the bark of the tree and using Butterfly wood inlays to connect and reinforce these large timbers. Over the years he built a large international following for his tables and chairs, often with a waiting list of several years for customers willing to pay for his investment pieces. While George passed away in 1990, his workshop of 10 craftsmen is led by his daughter Mira and the work they create is no less impressive.
We took a visit to George Nakashima Woodworking and were impressed by the level of craftsmanship and the opportunity to see the raw ingredients behind the work. We had the rare opportunity to see the Wood Storage sheds, where large timbers are aged and dried, some of which have been there for decades. Here are some highlights of what we saw-