Studio Tour + Award of Distinction
President and Creative Director
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.