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Thread: Naga-somebody high priced table

  1. #1
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    Naga-somebody high priced table

    Was watching Antiques Roadshow the other night. This couple had a table that was made by a Japanese artist, named Naga-something-or-other.
    It was a pretty crude and simple thing. Four inch thick triangular top, maybe three feet at widest point. Set on a simple spindle leg with three feet. Appraised at over $9000.00. I have seen this guys work featured in other places also. His benches are no different than many puncheon benches found in farm yards. With a thick slab of wood, anyone here could make one in an hour. A local man sells similar made from red cedar for $30 to $50. No doubt, if it had that Japanese artists name on them, they would be about $10,000.00. I just don't understand.
    Same with woodturning. Nice bowl: $30.00. Same bowl but cracked: call it art: $300.00. Oh, well.

  2. #2
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    Frank,

    I think that may be George Nakashima. 9K would be a steal for one of his tables. He's actually one of the two heroes of many woodworkers (Krenov would be the other) I've known. His "The Soul of a Tree" is one of the books that got me into all this. He passed away a number of years ago. And his life story is pretty compelling. When he moved to Pa. he had literally nothing. Built a house with his own hands, one room at a time, so he and his family could live there once he got it started. He learned woodworking while he was in a concentration camp in the 40's. Really a fascinating guy. You can check some of his work here: http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/work1.htm

    and his book is here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Tree-Mast...e=UTF8&s=books

    hmmm... hope that works. If it doesn't, just go to amazon.com and search on his name. One of the things he and Krenov have in common is they let the wood speak as they make the piece they're working on. I'm still at a stage where I'm trying to force the wood to do what I want...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
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    Hi William,
    Thanks for the valuable input and welcome to family woodworking .
    With this interesting collection of work I can see how one's facination with woodworking could be kindled or rekindled.
    Shaz
    I am a registered voter and you can be too. We ( registered voters ) select the moderators for this forum by voting every six months for the people we want to watch over this family forum.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Lantry View Post
    Frank,

    I think that may be George Nakashima. 9K would be a steal for one of his tables. He's actually one of the two heroes of many woodworkers (Krenov would be the other) I've known. His "The Soul of a Tree" is one of the books that got me into all this. He passed away a number of years ago. And his life story is pretty compelling. When he moved to Pa. he had literally nothing. Built a house with his own hands, one room at a time, so he and his family could live there once he got it started. He learned woodworking while he was in a concentration camp in the 40's. Really a fascinating guy. You can check some of his work here: http://www.nakashimawoodworker.com/work1.htm

    and his book is here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Tree-Mast...e=UTF8&s=books

    hmmm... hope that works. If it doesn't, just go to amazon.com and search on his name. One of the things he and Krenov have in common is they let the wood speak as they make the piece they're working on. I'm still at a stage where I'm trying to force the wood to do what I want...

    Thanks,

    Bill

    Yep, that's the guy. I wasn't trying to ridicule his name or character. But, still, IMHO, his tables and benches look primitive and crude to me. They are somewhere around Boy Scout skill level. I have seen thousands of puncheon tables and benches in farms and resorts that are, at least, equal. But, an artists reputation is what sells. Who can define art? I can't. Saw an art gallery once that sold broken toilets for about $5000.00 each. Go figger.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Yep, that's the guy. I wasn't trying to ridicule his name or character. But, still, IMHO, his tables and benches look primitive and crude to me. They are somewhere around Boy Scout skill level. I have seen thousands of puncheon tables and benches in farms and resorts that are, at least, equal. But, an artists reputation is what sells. Who can define art? I can't. Saw an art gallery once that sold broken toilets for about $5000.00 each. Go figger.
    frank, george nakashima, and now his daughter have built some really cool stuff...long before "natural-edge" was in vogue.......a cantilevered chair design pops into my head as one of the designs that i really like....you should spend some time reading about the `ol man and some of the trials he put his daughter through before handing over the reins to the business....then look at the wood stash they have! i think it dwarfs sam maloofs......definately well above "boy scout" level! in fact most of us who are serious `bout woodbutcherie aspire to create stuff as timely and as well exicuted.....tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
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    I have to agree with Frank; some of Nakashima's work looks like it isn't finished or, in the case of one of the dining tables I saw, it looks like a giant dog had been trying to eat the top. I don't think I'd want to sit down at a dining table that had a spot that would catch and tear my clothing. It may be "art", but it's certainly not -IMHO - usable furniture.

    Nancy
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  7. #7
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    Here's some "Nagashima style" furniture.... http://www.dumonds.com/index.html


    Sure wish I could make crude, primitive, Boy Scout level stuff like George pioneered. But to do so, I'd probably have to buy a few more clamps.....

    Last edited by Greg Cook; 02-03-2007 at 05:16 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    Here's some "Nagashima style" furniture.... http://www.dumonds.com/index.html


    Sure wish I could make crude, primitive, Boy Scout level stuff like George pioneered. But to do so, I'd probably have to buy a few more clamps.....

    No doubt, he made some stunning beautiful furniture. But, I'll stick with the Boy Scout anology for the natural edge stuff. And, respectfully, disagree with the "pioneered" statement. Folks have been making crude, natural edge slab furniture since they came out of the caves.
    As for the artist part, maybe I should get a bunch of old toilet and a sledgehammer, declare myself an artist, and make a fortune.

  9. #9
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    Frank,

    Maybe you could get together with the guys in the ditech.com commercials, and start a studio.....

    Don't forget to get a good set of gloves for that sledgehammer handle...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Who can define art? I can't.
    Frank,

    In a previous life, I spent a couple decades teaching. One of my primary subjects was Aesthetics, and I used to hear this from students all the time. What I always told them when they asked "who can define Art?" was "you do!" We make decisions about this stuff literally every day.The whole point of thinking about such things is to be able to make judgements about what's true, what's actually good, and what's beautiful. I think your feelings on this imply that art should have a certain level of skill, something which I'd agree with. We might disagree on the nature of the skill, but that's a minor point. Someone else argued that art should be practical, and I'd also agree with that.

    What he did, and what others who were inspired by him now do, is far different from what I do. But maybe that's because I simply don't have enough experience, or don't have access to the resources he eventually had: he used to buy all his wood in 'boule' form, and there's no way I could afford that. Or maybe I'm just, by nature, a pragmatist, as I suspect most of us are.

    When I first saw Krenov's work, I wanted to make a cabinet like he made. But Doorlink said she wouldn't want something like that in *her* house. Since I'm pragmatic, you can probably guess that cabinet is still unmade...

    Thanks,

    Bill

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