Straight Talk

Furniture & Lighting

The exquisitely refined Nakashima Straight Chair is amongst the many classic pieces of Knoll Dining Seating available from 2Modern at a 15% discount next week, and we were further reminded of George Nakashima’s enduring legacy by a recent newspaper editorial.

A Solid, Comforting Family Member is an elegy by the writer Jane Margolies for a George Nakashima family heirloom, and movingly illustrates the power of a thoughtfully created, lovingly preserved object to embody the ideals of a time and place long gone. We thought it was an article worth sharing, at least in part:

“The last time I saw my family’s Nakashima dining table, it was upended on a dusty Dodge Ram, a gray blanket wrapped around it. The ropes that tied the bundle to the van’s roof didn’t seem up to the task of keeping the precious cargo from slipping off and crashing on the road somewhere. My mother had recently died, my father had passed away years earlier, and my three sisters and I had just sold the table.

But I was having issues separating from the piece that my parents, in a burst of optimism, had commissioned more than four decades before. With Mr. Nakashima, they picked out a vividly grained piece of American walnut from the raw slabs of wood lined up in his workshop like giant pieces of toast. They watched as he sketched out a table whose top would consist of two book-matched planks with undulating edges, the pieces held together with three rosewood butterfly joints.

It was at this table that we gathered to eat all our meals and slice into birthday cakes. It was at this table that my father pounded his fist in frustration with a career that he ultimately found unfulfilling and a marriage that was coming apart.

The table is just a couple of planks of wood on a pedestal that I have freighted with significance beyond reason. For me, it represents my plucky parents and the golden age of my childhood, when my mother and father were still together and all six of us were under one roof. Above all, it represents my mother, who lived with it longer than any of us. Just as the table grounded our family, my mother grounded me. Giving up the table has been so hard because it’s been so hard giving up my mother.”

Jane Margolies’ editorial, in its entirety, may be read here.

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  1. Pingback: Nakashima Straight Chair | WoodenBlog

  2. e-cigaretter

    Jun 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after
    I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyway, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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