Kyoto Woodcraft by Nakagawa Mokkougei

Ki-oke Stool in Japanese Sawara Cypress

I’ve enjoyed my foray in to the world of woodworking, it’s been quite an eye-opener. As with all the crafts that we sell in the shop, I hope to give them a go myself and get a feel for the skill one needs when working with such a material. After completing my first piece of furniture it’s now time to embark on a new project, so I’ve been hunting around the web for inspiration and found these beautifully crafted forms by Japanese woodworking studio Nakagawa Mokkougei.

Nakagawa Mokkougei are best known for producing traditional Japanese buckets called ‘ki-oke’, these are made by joining slats of wood together and holding them in place with well-positioned metal rings. The process itself dates back over 700 years and has gone through many evolutions as an object used in the home. Today these buckets have various functions in and around the home, such as drink coolers and as interior decoration, but during the Edo period they were used for storing rice and miso.

What’s nice is that their ethos is to carry the fine tradition of Kyoto woodcraft, passing down time-honoured skills from father to son. Nakagawa Mokkougei has two studios in Japan, one in Kyoto and one in Shiga. The Kyoto studio is run by Kiyotsugu Nakagawa, who in 2001 received a national accolade for his commitment to Japanese design heritage, and the Shiga studio is run by his son Shuji Nakagawa, who is a contemporary artist as well as a craftsman. The shape you see above is an innovative seating solution designed by OeO and handcrafted in Japan by Shuji Nakagawa. Titled the ‘Ki-oke Stool’, it looks to fuse the fine tradition of Kyoto woodcraft with Western sensibilities. The result is an object of beauty available in Japanese cypress (sawara) and in a limited edition of lignified Japanese cedar (jindai-sugi) with a natural, 2000-year-old patina. I hope you like these photos and get a feel for the work behind them, similar craftsmen and inspiring imagery can be found on the Japan Handmade website linked below.



Champagne Cooler Konoha in Japanese Cypress with Copper Rings



Champagne Cooler Shizuku in Japanese Cypress with Copper Rings



Ki-oke Stool in Lignitised Japanese Cedar


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