Living at the foot of Mount Fuji, Yoshitaka NAKAYA often hears such words as “I don’t know how to use the tree planted by my ancestors,” or “Trees I used to play around when I was young have withered”.
As one who engages in woodworking, NAKAYA wants to rejuvenate these waste trees by creating productions that can bond nature and people. So that he turns from fine furniture to woodware, making the most of trees blown down by typhoon or abandoned by nearby factories. It has been ten years since then.
During this June, NAKAYA held his first overseas exhibition in Shanghai, China. His wooden lampshade attracted many audience and evoked everyone’s own memory with trees.
We have a chance to talk with NAKAYA, approaching his creation world.
NONAGON.style: What is your background? Please share something about you and your career.
Yoshitaka NAKAYA: I studied mechanical engineering at university, and after graduation I got a job in mechanical design for a shipbuilding machinery plant. 12 years ago I changed to woodworking by joining in Oak Village company. It’s not only because I like carpenter’s drawings, but because I want to use my hands to create. In 2009, I founded Komono NAKAYA to produce lampshades and containers with trees growing at the foot of Mt. Fuji.
Is the Shanghai Solo Exhibition your first time to hold an exhibition overseas? What did you do to prepare and how did you feel about it?
Yes, it is my first overseas exhibition. I was very happy and excited to be able to hold it in China and to introduce my work to people from other countries. We had done a lot of preliminary work. As the Chinese organizer – Lost and Found had little experience in handling Japanese lighting fixtures before, in case of any misunderstanding we had repeated discussions with Japanese staff in China to prepare for this exhibition. I am very grateful to all of the staff for their persistence in solving problems.
What motivated you to create wooden products?
I am interested in making things with trees around me. I want to make something that can be practically used by people from discarded trees. The abandoned trees can be turned into good things. I’m working to show that.
You are best known for your wooden lampshade. Could you please tell us the process that you create it?
After being cut down, the tree at once will be manufactured on a lathe into the moisture-containing wood and then dried. During the processing, its sap will splash and you can authentically feel the life of wood. When the wooden lampshade is nearly formed, leave it to dry naturally for two weeks to one month. During drying, the center of gravity will distort and shift while making noises. Meanwhile a hole for lighting fixture come into being in the center of gravity. What I need to do is to scrape the superfluous wood to match the hole. Add oil coating and wait it dried. At last install the lighting fixture and a wooden lamp is born like this.
We have seen that there are some other kinds of wooden lampshades in the market. Compared with others, what do you think your advantage or special part is?
My lampshade is characterized by large size and arc. Another feature is the place. The wood I use is only from trees growing at the foot of Mt. Fuji. Moreover, depending on the wood material and grain, distortion and twist differ from each two. It is the tree that determines the final shape, so you can enjoy the curve with expectation and surprise. Every lampshade is the unique one in the world.
For future, could you please tell us something about your goal?
I always want to work with excitement. I want to be a creator who can make use of any kind of trees, not only beautiful trees. Then there will be plenty of materials around you, and you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by piles of treasure.
Therefore, the field I’m currently interested in is not only the processing technology of trees, but also the coating method and the drying method, etc.
I enjoy making things right now, but in the end, I hope I can share my knowledge and experiences to people who set mind on it.