Yasuomi Nezu

Yasuomi Nezu
Woodwork (Paulownia Woodwork)
Mr. Nezu was born into a family of wood craftsmen, specializing in the use of Paulownia wood kiri. After graduating from university, he went into the family business, succeeding his father and grandfather. He makes and repairs all sorts of Paulownia wood products. And also, his specialty is making something new item. This is a unique type of Paulownia wood craftsmanship (kiri-kogei), not seen before.
Brief Personal History
2012-Entered Kirisho Nezu
2012Graduated from Tokyo Keizai University
1990Born in Gunma Prefecture


Nowadays woodwork products are not used so much in our daily lives. Mr. Nezu’s initial inspiration for his Paulownia bags was that he wanted more people to know more about the merits of using Paulownia wood. He was keen to create fashion items, and has produced bags which combine traditional techniques for highlighting the grain of the Paulownia wood with bright, vivid colors. These bags will certainly grab people’s attention, and will add a bit of an edge to your fashion look!

Features of Paulownia wood (kiri)

The wood of the Paulownia tree (kiri) is the lightest of all native trees in Japan. It is moisture absorbent, has good insulating properties and is naturally insect resistant. For these reasons, it often tends to be used for making chests of drawers, boxes and wooden clogs geta. It has a softness, which feels familiar to the touch. Japanese arts and crafts Kogei products made of Paulownia make use of these characteristics. Japanese people like using them in their daily lives. Paulownia boxes (kiribako are highly regarded for use as luxury vanity cases (they exude a sense of luxury from a Japanese point of view).

Production Process
Applying box-making techniques to bags
The process of making Paulownia cases is to some extent comparable to the techniques used for making textile bags. The artist cuts the wood, just like cutting cloth. Just like sewing with a machine, he makes the outline of a box using glue and nails. He attaches a pocket made of cowhide leather inside the case, and planes down the inner sections, reachable by hand, and its corner surfaces, to finish off the frame of the case.
Blowtorching the grain to add natural vividness of color
The trademark of his work is the way he finishes the surface of the wood. He burns the surface with a flame, and brushes off the soot to emphasize the pattern of the wood grain. Next is the process of coloring the wood, using pigment he has mixed himself. The coloring he uses is not the kind of thick paint which you apply in one coat. It is thin, with a watercolor-like shade and tone. By applying this three to five times, he makes the paint match the texture and shade of the pattern of the wood grain.
Burning the Paulownia wood surface with a flame. This is an ancient technique, known as jidai-yaki. Burning the wood hardens it and makes it more resilient.
When the soot is rubbed off, the soft part of the wood is brushed away, leaving the hard grain behind.
At the end he rubs wax onto the surfaces. Polishing with a bamboo spatula and deer horn gives it a gentle sheen.

All items are made-to-order.

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