I own John a great deal as he generously provided me with all of the original footage included in the video 'Collecting George Nakashima,' which I completed in 2016 as a part of the series on collecting design.
John Nakashima's documentary followed Nakashima's epic life from the very beginning, tracing the origins of his oeuvre. From the childhood in Spokane, Washington at the turn of the century, through his early exploration of nature, college, architecture school, and his years in Japan, before moving back to the US, and eventually settling in New Hope, Pennsilvania, the picturesque town in Bucks County, which he called home for the rest of his life.
Upon George Nakashima’s death in June 1990, John and his cousin Mira, who took over the family business and also wrote a book about her father, began research together to try to better understand, as Mira puts it, “the history and raison d’etre of our common ancestor.” “Uncle George," Joh says, "was a mystery to me," and so he learn about his character and his rise to fame. The two pored over “small stashes of my father’s old letters and photographs, as well as other tangible remnants of his past,” Mira says, and, in subsequent years, “embarked on two remarkable journeys in an attempt to interview people in both India and Japan who had worked with my father and known him intimately many years ago.”
The virtual screening by Design Miami/ will conclude with a Q&A, with Mira Nakashima, and John Nakashima, moderated by Aric Chen, Design Miami/ Curatorial Director. Register here!
Above: Nakashima's Arlyn Table celebrates wild, free-form grain and contours often found in roots. Photo © George Nakashima Woodworkers