Watch Japanese Woodworking Masters Create Elegant & Elaborate Geometric Patterns with Wood

A friend recent­ly told me he’d had his hair cut with a pair of $10,000 scis­sors, reput­ed­ly the high­est-qual­i­ty in the world. He hard­ly need­ed to add that his bar­ber ordered them from Japan, the land where those tru­ly ded­i­cat­ed to their craft spare no expense of mon­ey, time, or ener­gy to take each small step clos­er to per­fec­tion. The rig­or­ous tra­di­tions behind that extend far back into his­to­ry, espe­cial­ly in the mak­ing of paperswords, and, as you can see in the video above, mar­quetry, pat­terned veneers which use wood — and only wood — to cre­ate ele­gant and elab­o­rate geo­met­ric pat­terns to apply to the sur­faces of all sorts of objects: artis­tic, func­tion­al, and any­where in between.

In 2012 and 2013, Guc­ci Japan went around film­ing the world of mas­ters of tra­di­tion­al arts and crafts all around the coun­try and assem­bling them into the video series “Hand,” some of which we fea­tured here last year.

Its four-minute short on mar­quetry, as prac­ticed by Noboru Hon­ma of Hakone, has espe­cial­ly daz­zled its view­ers by reveal­ing how almost unre­al-look­ing aes­thet­ic pre­ci­sion can result from one man’s work with noth­ing more than saws, sanders, and woods of var­i­ous nat­ur­al col­ors. These woods, which include cher­ry, dog­wood, ash, mul­ber­ry, and cam­phor, can make about 60 dif­fer­ent canon­i­cal pat­terns com­bin­able in an infini­tude of ways.

You can learn more about tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese mar­quetry, or yose­gi-zaiku, in the Tech­nigeek video above. It pays a vis­it to anoth­er wood­shop, not far from Hon­ma’s in the neigh­bor­ing city of Odawara. (Both Odawara and Hakone are locat­ed in Kana­gawa Pre­fec­ture, an area known for its woods.) Kiy­ota­ki Tsuyu­ki, the crafts­man in charge, works with a group of younger yose­gi prac­ti­tion­ers with the aim of push­ing the for­m’s bound­aries and keep­ing it rel­e­vant to the times. “Yose­gi is about beau­ty, the detail in the pat­tern, and the col­ors,” he says. “It’s about design, using it in your dai­ly life, or enjoy­ing it as art. If it’s fun to look at and easy to use on any occa­sion, you’re more like­ly to love it and enjoy being around it.” Espe­cial­ly if you under­stand the work — and in some sense, cen­turies of work — that went into it.

via Twist­ed Sifter

Relat­ed con­tent:

20 Mes­mer­iz­ing Videos of Japan­ese Arti­sans Cre­at­ing Tra­di­tion­al Hand­i­crafts

How Japan­ese Things Are Made in 309 Videos: Bam­boo Tea Whisks, Hina Dolls, Steel Balls & More

The Mak­ing of Japan­ese Hand­made Paper: A Short Film Doc­u­ments an 800-Year-Old Tra­di­tion

Watch a Japan­ese Crafts­man Lov­ing­ly Bring a Tat­tered Old Book Back to Near Mint Con­di­tion

The Art of Col­lo­type: See a Near Extinct Print­ing Tech­nique, as Lov­ing­ly Prac­ticed by a Japan­ese Mas­ter Crafts­man

Japan­ese Crafts­man Spends His Life Try­ing to Recre­ate a Thou­sand-Year-Old Sword

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


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