It is perhaps not so well known that Japan is a heavily forested country, with two-thirds of its land covered by trees. The artist Kitayama Eita uses mostly local Japanese hardwood that is sourced responsibly and sustainably. Those are wood from trees such as maple/acer, persimmon, cherry, chestnut, ginkgo, castor-aralia and zelkova.
Kitayama’s items often feature or are built around the individual characteristics of each piece of wood, enhancing its knobs, splits, spalted marks or birds-eye figure. Of course, you will never know exactly what hidden attributes are there until you rough-cut the sourced timber.
When I asked the artist how he selected pieces of wood for his works, he said: “The one that speaks to me, or even sings a song.”
The timber that eventually turned into the cutlery pieces shown here perhaps sang in French. These are made of acer pictum, commonly known as painted maple, which is hard and dense.
The third image, from Kitayama’s studio, shows Japanese zelkova that was dug up after lying buried underground for hundreds years. Perhaps this can be a Japanese version of "bog wood."
"Those buried ones are extra hard and often come with difficult characteristics, but they are full of potential for carving. I am totally blown away and thrilled to working with them,” the artist said.
Read more on the next post.