Exploring the process of George Nakashima Woodworker

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By Patrick Sisson / Published by Dwell
New York's 1950 Gallery showcases rare photos and a posthumous collaboration between George and his daughter Mira.

The meditative, almost spiritual quality of George Nakashima’s work forms the backbone of "1941-2014: The Process," a new show at New York’s 1950 Gallery running through May 28. Displaying more than 30 pieces by George and his daughter Mira, including examples from the 1989 International Papers Commission, the ASA-NO-HA Lamp made for George’s son, Kevin, and the rare Shoki collection—furniture George’s daughter Mira built from sketches her father made in the ‘40s—the exhibition in Chelsea tells the story of two generations of exemplary craftsmanship.

Exploring the process of George Nakashima Woodworker - Photo 1 of 4 - The exhibit includes the Shoki Collection (back left), the ASA-NO-HA Lamp (back wall), and an array of Nakashima originals.

The exhibit includes the Shoki Collection (back left), the ASA-NO-HA Lamp (back wall), and an array of Nakashima originals.

"It’s the first real look that does cover the entire process, from the 1940s through Mira’s work now," says gallery director Alberto Aquilino. Imagery from the Michener Art Museum also lines the walls, including photos, ephemera, and posters. There’s even a early desk from 1947 that George made with a bitterbrush pull, a relic from a time when the master woodworker didn’t have his pick of the finest pieces of wood.

Exploring the process of George Nakashima Woodworker - Photo 2 of 4 - Mira Nakashima crafted the rare Shoki collection from her father’s sketches from the 1940s.

Mira Nakashima crafted the rare Shoki collection from her father’s sketches from the 1940s.

"1941-2014: The Process" is at the 1950 Gallery, at 631 W. 27th Street in New York, through May 28.

Exploring the process of George Nakashima Woodworker - Photo 3 of 4 - These intricately patterned lamps were created to illuminate Nakashima's work at a show overseas. Some of these reside in the Rockefeller’s mansion.

These intricately patterned lamps were created to illuminate Nakashima's work at a show overseas. Some of these reside in the Rockefeller’s mansion.

Exploring the process of George Nakashima Woodworker - Photo 4 of 4 - More than 70 years of furniture making by two generations of Nakashima’s gets the spotlight at the gallery show.

More than 70 years of furniture making by two generations of Nakashima’s gets the spotlight at the gallery show.