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Mira Nakashima

Studio Tour + Award of Distinction

Pres­i­dent and Creative Direc­tor

Nakashima Woodworkers

Mira Nakashima

Mira Nakashima is the daugh­ter of Japan­ese-Amer­i­can wood­worker and archi­tect George Nakashima, and since 2004 has been Pres­i­dent and Creative Direc­tor of George Nakashima Wood­work­ers, who produce one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted, made-to- order furni­ture at their work­shop in New Hope, Penn­syl­va­nia. Mira was born in 1942 in Seattle, Wash­ing­ton, grad­u­ated cum laude from Harvard Univer­sity with an under­grad­u­ate degree in Archi­tec­tural Sciences and General Studies, and earned her master’s degree in Archi­tec­ture from Waseda Univer­sity in Tokyo.

After return­ing to the family busi­ness in 1970 and raising four chil­dren while appren­tic­ing under her father, Mira published a book in 2003 titled Nature, & Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima, commem­o­rated by a trav­el­ing retro­spec­tive exhibit of her father’s work debut­ing at the Mingei Inter­na­tional Museum in San Diego. She has curated many other furni­ture exhi­bi­tions includ­ing her own work since her father passed in 1990, designed and built the Nakashima Memo­r­ial Room at the Mich­ener Museum in 1993, and together with a staff of 17 contin­ues to make furni­ture from her father’s stock­pile of wood, preserv­ing and contin­u­ing the craft tradi­tion her father initi­ated in the 1940s.

Mira, along with husband Jonathan Yarnall, John Lutz and Barbara Simmons are board members of the Nakashima Foun­da­tion for Peace, whose mission is ​“to main­tain the archi­tec­ture and the collec­tion of furni­ture George Nakashima designed and built on his New Hope, Penn­syl­va­nia prop­erty, and to study, uphold, and perpet­u­ate the great spir­i­tual tradi­tions he embraced and inte­grated into his work.”

Mira is receiv­ing this award in recog­ni­tion for both the efforts she has made as an inspired and talented maker, and for the role she has played in sustain­ing the legacy of George Nakashima Wood­work­ers. George Nakashima is hugely influ­en­tial in our field for his time­less furni­ture designs, his unique studio/​workshop model, and his writ­ings. Mira has carried the work­shop forward into the 21st century. Her vision of Nakashima Wood­work­ers honors the legacy but also adjusts and adapts the Nakashima work­shop model to produce an ongoing body of work that moves the legacy into current times and on into the future. Anyone hoping to under­stand the studio furni­ture field must address and recog­nize the lead­er­ship role of George Nakashima Wood­work­ers under the direc­tion of Mira Nakashima.

Conference Sessions