“Kanna Finish”By Toshio Tokunaga
Tokunaga furniture is with no exception finished with “kanna,” a traditional Japanese plane. A lively and vivid profile and a touch of natural smoothness are some of the gifts we receive from our work with “kanna.” But, the crucial moments for us woodworkers are when we feel associated with the trees and comprehend them through the “kanna” work.
The complex mixture of order and reverse eyes revealed under the skin show plain straight grains. It makes us listen to a story of life as a tree, standing upright against the rough wind while it grew.
Discovering and feeling the doubtless relationship of humans with nature is what we want to share with you. Through “kanna finish,” we think we can say only when our Woodcraft is made with affection with the trees.
Toshio Tokunaga was born in 1952 in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture at Iwate University in 1974 and apprenticed under 'Living National Treasure' Hekigai Takeuchi, becoming a member of the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Association in 1985. He built his studio at Yokaway Town, Hyogo in 1990.
In 2002, Tokunaga produced the ‘Decorated Mulberry Go Board’ to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine of Fukuoka, now considered one of its sacred treasures. The following year, he was invited to participate in the 'Contemporary Furniture and Woodworks in Japan' exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
Since then he was paved the way for apprentices such as Austin Voll (of studiovoll) and Fed Dodson (of Tatara Workshop), and sells Hassui Ceramic glass coating for wider audiences to learn this precious craft. Tokunaga exhibited with Ippodo Gallery at SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design) in Chicago in 2014, and at Collect, the international art fair for modern craft and design, in London in 2015.
Photos by Shoko
Bring Forest Bathing to the Home: Chairs by Toshio Tokunaga
By Shoko Aono
Craftsman Toshio Tokunaga’s expertise in furniture is uniquely attuned to the natural world. The craftsman delicately familiarizes with each rare tree’s spirit, allowing him to infuse each chair with warm understanding: precious Zelkova, mulberry, cherry, and cypress woods are all sourced with passion and dedication from local forests, then dried for decades.
The technique is paramount for Tokunaga’s deeply human sensory process. The artist uses Kanna tools to achieve his perfected edges unmatched by machinery. Intensive study of lines, forms, and curves from ancient wares and a recent dedication results in a contemplative crafting approach, with a churning movement as natural as dancing.
Amidst the unpredictability of pandemic, the healing properties of forest bathing overcome the sitter as the chair envelops body and soul, awash in the relaxation and tranquility found in the protection of the deep woods. The energy of the gathering and crafting process is like writing poetry. It is a way to reconnect with the outdoors from the inside.
During the exhibition at Ippodo, photographs of the forest by Hakudo Inoue will adorn the walls to create the sensation of actual forest bathing, so the viewer can fully embrace the 360 beauty of Japan.