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Shingo Tsukuda Woodworking Exhibition

From February 21 to 26, 2024, an exhibition of woodworking artist Shingo Tsukuda’s works was held at the Yokohama Takashimaya Art Gallery, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. Shingo, who exhibits in various galleries, holds exhibitions at Nihonbashi Takashimaya and Yokohama Takashimaya almost every other year, and this exhibition marked his third solo exhibition. Born in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, Shingo trained as a furniture craftsman, then studied at the woodworking school of the late Kenkichi Kuroda and apprenticed at the Kyo-sashimono Kobo (Kyoto Joinery Workshop). He has received awards including the Kokuten Kokuga Award and has been involved in the production of tea utensils for the ceremony to celebrate the renovation of the Chu-kondo Hall at Kofuku-ji Temple. This exhibition showcased around 130 pieces, including his latest works.

In a serene gallery atmosphere, exquisite and delicate artworks are displayed in line

Each piece features prominent wood grain, reminiscent of ocean waves and sand dunes

Shingo’s work is rich in elegance and grace, with particular emphasis on the striking beauty of the wood grain. He says, “I am particular about the materials and enjoy collecting them. I want to use wood that no one else is using.” He says that inspiration comes to him when he looks at the materials and the grain patterns. When using lacquer, he uses highly refined black kuro-me lacquer to preserve the character of the wood grain, repeatedly applying and wiping off the lacquer to make the lacquer film as thin as possible.

Shingo demonstrates the diverse allure of wood while making skillful use of it as a material. For instance, his piece titled “Small Chest of Drawers with Yellow-toned Wood (Amur Corktree)” utilizes black persimmon for the front of the drawers, Japanese box for the edges of the drawers, and camellia for the edges of the entire chest. When viewed from the front, this piece captivates the eye with patterns resembling sumi ink paintings on the black persimmon, while from the top, intricate shapes and patterns give a solid, geometric impression. On the other hand, “Small Chest of Drawers (Aged Japanese Zelkova and Japanese Nutmeg-yew)” combines black and light brown aged woods, creating a sense of depth and perspective enhanced by the interplay of wood colors and light, as if giving rise to an optical illusion.

The new futa-mono, or lidded containers, are made not by carving wood, but by assembling pieces of wood using sashimono joinery techniques. For example, his “Hachiryo Gosu (Chinese Red Ash)” is made by combining eight boards, creating a seamless connection of intricate wood grain, with the lid finely shaved to achieve its ideal shape. Additionally, there are other masterpieces such as the “Shiryo Gosu (Japanese Zelkova)” which showcase skillful craftsmanship, featuring uniform thickness and wood grain alignment.

The “Hachiryo Gosu (Chinese Red Ash)” is composed of eight boards, with the connection of wood grains meticulously controlled down to the finest details

The flower vase exudes an Oriental atmosphere with its simple yet versatile design, fitting seamlessly into any environment

Some trays are made using wood from Africa, while others are modeled after salvers (silver trays) used by the upper class in Europe. Additionally, there are flower vases inspired by ancient Greek and Roman bronze artifacts, exuding an aesthetic that transcends time and nationality. Perhaps the reason why Shingo’s works blend well with various interiors and situations is because they draw inspiration from diverse cultures.

Shingo mentions, “In pottery, once the work is placed in the kiln, it is left to fate, but in woodworking, the material, wood, remains in the artist’s hands until the end, so the choice of wood becomes crucial.” With an intimate understanding of wood and a relentless pursuit of craftsmanship to bring out the beauty of wood grain patterns, Shingo’s pieces seem to tell a story of the rich life of the trees, each one meticulously crafted with unparalleled skill.

Written by Akiko Nakano

Related information

Yokohama Takashimaya Art Gallery
1-6-31, Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-city, Kanagawa Prefecture, 220-8601, Japan
TEL: +81-45-311-5111
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm



Editorial Team

KOGEI STANDARD is a cultural online media introducing Japanese crafts to the world which include ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, woodworking, glass and many more.