While checking out various toy links late last night (while I probably should’ve been doing something ‘constructive’) I came across the incredible hand-crafted wooden toys of Takeji Nakagawa (via Toytastic).

Aren’t these absolutely mind-boggling beautiful?!

take-g toys

take-g toys

These magnificent toys are created using the Japanese craft process of yosegi-mokuzougan, or joined wooden block construction. Traditionally a two-dimensional craft, Nakagawa has evolved the process to create three-dimensional designs. He uses four types of wood (keyaki, teak, walnut and white ash) and combines these beautifully, with a deep respect for each wood’s unique colour and texture, and for the trees that provide his raw materials.

Takeji Nakagawa on his art:

“I often get asked ‘Why do you make robots with wood?’ I don’t really have an exact answer for it but I often relate my robots with ‘future’. What do you relate future with? Cities full of metals, glasses and plastics in a SF movie??? What we really want is not that kind of future but one full of trees and something more natural. I don’t think humans can live without trees no matter what advances technology makes. When I think of ‘future’, I cannot help thinking of ‘past’ at the same time. Trees take long time (tens and hundreds years) to grow and show us their beauty (the product of their past). I think that I have responsibilities as a craftsman and an artist of breathing new life into these trees. I have a job to link 100 years in the past and 100 years in the future through my work. This is my values toward my work”.

There is an interview with the artist here. The interview is in Japanese and English but unfortunately (if, like me, you don’t read Japanese) the English translation is a little ‘quirky’. But it’s worth checking out for more images of Nakagawa’s incredible work. 

Sadly his wonderful creations are not available outside Japan (apart from his ‘blocks’ and ‘zoo’ toys which he sells online) and he insists potential customers see the work first-hand before purchasing it. Another reason to make a return trip to Japan asap (not that I’m short of reasons :-) 

take-g toys

Images are copyright take-g toys