This short film from the mid-1980s highlights furniture master George Nakashima toward the end of his long career. For fans of his work, it is a great opportunity to see his mind at work.
Nakashima died in 1990 at the age of 85. The film was made when Nakashima was 79 and beyond his years of hands-on craftsmanship. But we see him supervising the milling of some hugely impressive walnut slabs, and conferring with the craftsmen working in his shop and building to his specifications. We see the shop at work on a walnut slab table and on one of Nakashima’s famous Conoid chairs.
The film, titled Elegant Craftsman, also offers a nice look at the museum and workshop on the family property in Pennsylvania. The interviews with Nakashima and his wife, Marian, about their early years together – including their internment in a WWII camp for Japanese Americans – offer insight into his determination, and to their teamwork.
You can see the work that is continuing at the Nakashima shop by his daughter Mira and others by visiting the shop online at www.nakashimawoodworker.com.
In the meantime, this is a nice little bit of film, and well worth checking out.