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Renowned Furniture Designer Mira Nakashime to discuss ‘Soul of a Tree’ at D&R Greenway

originally published: 03/13/2018

Renowned Furniture Designer Mira Nakashime to discuss  ‘Soul of a Tree’ at D&R Greenway

(PRINCETON, NJ) --  D&R Greenway Land Trust presents a special evening with renowned furniture designer Mira Nakashima on Thursday, March 22 (doors open 6:30pm, talk begins at 7:00pm) at the Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. Admission costs $10 person. Mira Nakashima, the daughter of legendary furniture sculptor George Nakashima, will tell the story of the family’s woodworking legacy, followed by a signing of her book, “Nature, Form and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima.”

Nakashima pieces will be displayed and available for purchase, including a three-legged stool, candle holders, pencil holders and bread boards. A second book will also be available for sale, aptly titled “The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker’s Reflections.” The program is in conjunction with the exhibit Soul of a Tree, on view through April 20. Artists include Tasha O’Neill, John Napoli, Michael Pascucci and Sean Carney. Please RSVP at (609) 924-4646 or Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5

Mira Nakashima was a dedicated pupil who worked in the shadow of her father. He spoke little to her, expected her to learn by doing, demanded long hours, and was more apt to point out her mistakes than to offer praise. “He had meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail,” she recounts.

George Nakashima (1905-1990) is best known for his superb craftsmanship and organic use of the natural lines and grain of the wood. Nakashima was also an architect who designed a number of distinguished buildings during his career, and was committed to the natural world. Both Mira and her father paid utmost respect to the tree the wood came from. He believed there was a spirit in the tree. “I feel it in the grain of the wood,” he said, as he shaped the wood to tell its story.

But when George died, many clients canceled their orders or demanded a discount because the pieces wouldn’t have his pedigree. For a time, Mira, who holds two degrees in architecture, thought she would have to shutter the family business.

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Mira not only continued to fulfill orders for her father’s classics, but also expanded the firm’s repertory with designs of her own that, like his, showcase the natural form and character of wood. When she designs a piece, she stands in front of the wood she will use to draw her sketch. “It speaks to me,” she says. “The wood guides the pencil, and it designs itself.”

She continues to manage the Bucks County studio, George Nakashima Woodworkers, today, where she feels her father’s spirit watching over her, making sure she does it right. “Dad always said wood was like fruit,” she has said. “It was best just before it rots.”

“This is a unique opportunity to both own a Nakashima piece of art and support conservation of trees and forests,” says D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead. "Ten years ago when Mira presented here at the Johnson Education Center, we filled the seats to standing room only.  People went away in awe, inspired by the connection to nature found in the woodwork.  We decided to offer this opportunity, once again, to experience woodworking as one would experience the sacred space of a forest."

Among Mira Nakashima's life dreams is to carry out her father's vision to place a Nakashima-made Altar of Peace on each of the seven continents on Earth. The first was installed at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in 1986. The second Sacred Table, built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in 1995, was made from the same monumental black walnut tree as the first and served as a unifying presence at The Hague Appeal for Peace in May of 1999. It now resides in the Russian Academy of Art in Moscow to help inspire peace in the new millennium. A third Sacred Table resides in a "City of Peace" in India, and a fourth is planned for Capetown, South Africa.

D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST IS IN ITS 29TH YEAR of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey. Through continuous preservation and stewardship -- caring for land and easements to ensure they remain protected and ecologically healthy in perpetuity -- D&R Greenway nurtures a healthier and more diverse environment for people and wild species in seven counties. Accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic, now and for the future. Since its founding in 1989, D&R Greenway has permanently preserved more than 20,000 acres, an area 20 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, including 30 miles of trails open to the public. The Johnson Education Center, a circa 1900 restored barn at One Preservation Place, Princeton, is D&R Greenway’s home. Through programs, art exhibits and related lectures, D&R Greenway inspires greater public commitment to safeguarding land. 

State Theatre New Jersey presents An Evening with Bob Woodward
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents An Evening With Bob Woodward - The State of the American Presidency on Monday, December 10 at 8:00pm. Moderated by Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Woodward provides a behind the scene look into his 47 year career from Watergate to his latest book, as well as the current state of politics. Tickets range from $35-$85.
RVCC Planetarium to Present Holiday Shows, Star Shows, Laser Concerts in December
​​​​​​​(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg is offering a variety of star shows and laser concerts for the entire family in December, including holiday programs to help make the season especially merry and bright. In addition, a special Winter Solstice Saturday program will feature free, hands-on activities for all ages.

A Look at Newark Centric City
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Newark Centric City officially launched on September 29, 2018, but site owner Suzanne Joblonski has been actively promoting Newark through social media for the past year and a half.  New Jersey Stage spoke with her to learn more about the site.
The 27th Annual Blackwood Pumpkin Festival
Now that summer is officially in the rearview mirror – even with an occasional warm-weather day – the time has come for thoughts to turn to things autumnal. That could mean painting a pumpkin or constructing a scarecrow for Halloween decorating. It might be checking out a craft fair for an early start on holiday shopping. It could involve an outdoor spot with live entertainment to see and hear without slathering on high-number sunscreen. Or maybe it’s just taking in an activity that’s fun for the whole gang, even the four-legged ones.
New Jersey Hall of Fame: Class of 2017 PERFORMING ARTS
The members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2017 were inducted on Sunday, May 6th in Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre.  The following is a look at the members inducted in the PERFORMING ARTS category: The Four Seasons, Steven Van Zandt, Gloria Gaynor, and Debbie Harry.
New Jersey Hall of Fame: Class of 2017 ARTS & LETTERS
The members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2017 were inducted on Sunday, May 6th in Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre.  The following is a look at the members inducted in the ARTS & LETTERS category: Harlan Coben and Anna Quindlen.
New Jersey Hall of Fame: Class of 2017 SPORTS
The members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2017 were inducted on Sunday, May 6th in Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre.  The following is a look at the members inducted in the SPORTS category: Al Leiter and Carli Lloyd.

Event calendar
Sunday, Dec 09, 2018


CHINA CRISIS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 6:00pm

Sensational Soul Cruisers Holiday Show @ iPlay America, Freehold - 4:00pm

Scott, Garner, Gray, Says Jimmy Baldwin @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:00pm

The GLEN MILLER ORCHESTRA @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

The Weight Band – Featuring members of The Band and Levon Helm Band @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 7:30pm

The Met Opera: Marnie (Encore) @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 1:00pm


Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Peter Pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 1:00pm and 5:00pm

Annie: The Musical @ Centenary Stage Company - Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 2:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm


Breakfast with Santa @ iPlay America, Freehold - 9:30am

PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 10:00am and 2:00pm and 6:00pm


CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm

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