George Nakashima studio – Part 1

September 25th, 2012

The other week we made a pilgrimage to George Nakashima’s studio in New Hope Pennsylvania. This is a trip I’ve been wanting to make ever since seeing George Nakashima’s work in person at Gallery Toukyo when we were in Japan last summer. (and subsequently seeing more in New York later in the year).

It sounds strange that the first piece I saw by this American born Japanese architect/craftsman was in Japan, but maybe the setting was the perfect place to experience Nakashima’s work. A gallery specializing in hand crafted / Mingei work being meticulously displayed on original Nakashima pieces from an exhibition in the 1980s. The owner had purchased the entire collection, a large investment at the time that has turned into a priceless collection.

I remember specifically the long 7′ bench sitting in the window with Windsor style spoke-back being held together by a Torri like arch, running along only around 5′ of the length thus leaving a substantial 2′ cantilever for displaying pottery. I think it’s been embedded in my mind in the same way Nakashima’s signature is embedded in the display pieces at Gallery Toukyo.

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It’s not a road trip until you’re stopped by the State Police for speeding! Oops! But really, our car only has Km on the speedometer.


Onto the epic road trip… We wanted to visit the Nakashima workshop before the arrival of Elodie, but just couldn’t find the time. This would be our first road trip with the baby, and also for us as a couple. I don’t know how we managed to not ever take a road trip, but we discovered we haven’t traveled much in our own country or through the US, and if we did travel it was by plane or train.

It took around 12 hours to drive to New Hope from Toronto after you include a stop for lunch and stops for changing diapers and the inevitable search for a Starbucks pick me up. We were originally considering making the trip all in one day, but I’m so happy that we decided to stay over the first night so we were refreshed for our studio visit the next day.


Of course we took a staggering amount of photographs, we’re saving the best for the 3rd volume of Mjölk, so in the meantime I hope you enjoy the first part of this blog post: a tour of the Conoid studio.


A cast iron knocker from Japan, on a wide plank walnut door.


Antique Japanese indigo mats on a Nakashima R bench.



The top of a Minguren end table.


“Please remove shoes”


Conoid rocking chair, and a slatted cabinet.




The Conoid showroom.


There are beautiful ceramic and iron pieces neatly displayed on cabinets and coffee tables around the studio.


A Japanese fish hanging.


A collection of Burls for Lamp bases.


The iconic butterfly joint.



Sitting outside of the studio was this amazing sculpture by Harry Bertoia, who was a good friend of George Nakashima.


The work shop flooded with natural light on looking the lush property.



The concrete pillars holding up the shell ceiling of the Conoid Studio.

I hope you enjoyed part 1! We have plenty more photos to share with you.

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