Kumiko is a Japanese woodworking craft from the Edo period of 1603-1868. Thin pieces of wood are cut at precise angles and pressure fit together to form complex, geometric lattice work. There are about 200 different traditional patterns, with motifs symbolizing strength, health, beauty, and longevity, among others. Kumiko was most commonly used to decorate shoji screens - the room partitions in Japanese homes and businesses.
I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese woodcrafts and their incredible joinery techniques. Kumiko incorporates the joinery skill with beautiful aesthetics. Making kumiko requires a high level of precision from the milling of the wood strips to the intricate cuts and angles. Patience is a must as patterns need to be planned and cut within hundredths of a millimeter and a degree. Errors beyond that measure, especially in larger pieces will quickly compound.
In my work, I combine traditional patterns to create an overall design and various shapes within that design. I also use different wood species to create or highlight additional shapes and to add more depth and contrast.
Hishi Ta-No-Ji & Kawari Asa-No-Ha
42” x 25” - Sawtooth Aspen & Purpleheart
7 ¾” x 9 ¾” - Sawtooth Aspen
12 ½“ x 12 ½“ - Padauk & Alaskan Spruce
Asa-No-Ha & Soroban-Kuzushi
13 ½“ x 13 ½“ -Cherry & Hickory