Inspired by Pottery – Carved Wooden Objects by Hiroto Nakanishi


It’s fascinating that a creative can be inspired by a totally different medium to the one that he specialises in. Obviously a potter being inspired by nature is a direct source, but being inspired by a parallel craft is very interesting indeed. I’ve seen pottery that’s rooted in architecture, basically using the construction of modern houses as their main point of inspiration. In the past I’ve also said how some woodworkers can almost make their work look like ceramic, and today’s post follows a similar theme but on a more abstract level.

Japanese woodworker Hiroto Nakanishi was born in Nagoya in 1984 and started working with wood in 2003. Inspired by the ‘old pottery’ of Japan and Korea, the vessels that he carves are often deconstructed vases with lots of facets and holes where the eye can peer right through. The more severe the holes the more they seem to appeal to me, it’s almost like the abstraction of a physical object, as if they’re not real and are levitating in thin air. I guess part of this fascination with older pottery is the idea of traditional vessels that have been partly broken or that are missing elements from the main body, which also pairs with Japan’s tradition for fixing broken pottery using the Kintsugi method.

Nakanishi achieves this broken effect by first turning a classic shape, he then delicately thins the areas and takes away from the main body using a special carving technique that requires precision and a unique knowledge of the material itself. He sources all of his wood from the mountains of Shiga Prefecture, where he now lives and works, searching for those unique pieces that have endured nature’s force, particularly those that are decayed and scarred. I’m extremely impressed with Hiroto’s work and the way in which he uses these features to dramatic effect in the final vessels. Hopefully he produces more like this in the near future, for now sit back and admire these wonderful artworks above and below.