Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 720 — map & image data — nearby photos
Creating a carving pattern with a string, bamboo brush, some ink, and a thumb
In “Nishimura Stone Lanterns: the Workshop” I introduced a stone-carver workshop in the Kitashirakawa area of Kyoto that I came across last week. I visited again the other day, stopping first at the workshop to request permission to visit their amazing back garden.
The workshop is open to the street, and upon walking up, Paul Barr and I found none other than Daizo Nishimura, the 5th-generation stonecarver/owner at work preparing a stone for carving. I took the photo above before he noticed us.
Upon seeing us, he immediately stopped his work to chat with us. I felt bad about interrupting his work, so kept my chat to a minimum, but got permission to visit the gardens. But as we left, he returned to work, which was compelling enough of a sight that we hung around to watch and take pictures.
Noticing that we still there, he invited us in to take pictures, and cheerfully engaged me in conversation as he went about his work.
As he started carving, fine shards of granite started flying everywhere, including into my eyes. I jumped back and asked (in Japanese) “wow, don't you ever get this stuff in your eyes while you work?!” to which he replied “Yup, sure do, but you can't see well if you wear glasses...”
His dad (72-year-old Kenzo Nishimura) still works a full day, but was busy with a project at a location down the street, so wasn't there at the time. There were, however, two young, non-family apprentices at work on various projects, and the sound of three hammer pounding away at chisels filled the air as Paul and I ventured toward the back garden....