Stonecarver Daizo Nishimura at Work
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Simple Tools Creating a carving pattern with a string, bamboo brush, some ink, and a thumb Kyoto, Japan -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Simple Tools
Creating a carving pattern with a string, bamboo brush, some ink, and a thumb
Kyoto, Japan

In “Nishimura Stone Lanterns: the WorkshopI 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.

Reinforcing the Lines -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
Reinforcing the Lines
Bamboo Ink Pot -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Bamboo Ink Pot

Noticing that we still there, he invited us in to take pictures, and cheerfully engaged me in conversation as he went about his work.

Details -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Details
Brush of Split Bamboo -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Brush of Split Bamboo
Edging -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Edging

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...

Starting The Detail Work -- Nishimura Stone Lantern workworkshopshop and garden -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting The Detail Work

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....

Continued here...


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Very interesting photos that you took at the stone mason’s yard. I really like the close-up view of “Brush of Split Bamboo”.

— comment by Tom on December 9th, 2009 at 10:10am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Glad I got that lens back. You were having entirely too much fun with it.

— comment by Zak on December 9th, 2009 at 10:11pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

The “Brush of Split Bamboo” photo is absolutely perfect.

Thanks. He was working fast, so I had to work faster, and have quite a few almost-in-focus shots that attest to my inability to do so consistently. Sometimes it’s best to just be lucky and carry a big memory card. —Jeffrey

— comment by Andrew Shieh in Sunnyvale on December 10th, 2009 at 1:25pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

I found it very interesting that he uses the split bamboo brush and inkpot as opposed something more modern like say, a Sharpie or even a regular, stiff paintbrush. Did he say anything about why the split bamboo brush is used?

I didn’t ask… it seemed obvious to me, being the same reason that they carve the stones by hand rather than using computer-controlled high-precision milling machines. —Jeffrey

— comment by Lin, from Southern California on December 13th, 2009 at 12:55am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink
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