• Advertise with us
Blog entry by posted 03-13-2008 01:27 PM 2444 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch


19 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5044 days

#1 posted 03-13-2008 03:07 PM

Interesting blog. You forgot “Asian Inspired”

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4800 days

#2 posted 03-13-2008 03:12 PM

Thanks for the “look around”, Jojo. I have made many sketches of architectural elements and furniture that I’ve seen around the world, especially in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, SE Asia, etc. I also have several books on the antique furniture of these areas, and have several samples of Japanese joinery that hopefully I will use some day. I’ve yet to really incorporate the look into any of my furniture. Like you say, folks just like to name their style something that sounds “exotic”. For example, I told my wife we were going to decorate our porch in the “trashy southern style”, which is basically just going down to the auto wrecking yard for a nice, comfortable, car bench seat that we can put on the front porch. Couple of nice hub caps for spittoons. You get the idea. Keep the history and instructional blogs going.

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 4962 days

#3 posted 03-13-2008 03:46 PM

Well put and not a rant. I’m impressed by “asian” joinery. I should be so good at what I do. Last evening I watched a program about the new museum in the mountains designed by I. M. Pei. Even though he’s Chinese/American, he’s spent a lifetime studying his client’s cultures whereever he builds the projects he is fortunate to have acquired. Even then, with years of immersion and study one cannot know completely what it is like to be someone else…or the “other” culture. I’m barely lucky to know what it is to live in my neighborhood…and as for style, I don’t have one. I would have had to have been a woodworker from youth to know if I had a style. I just hope that when I finally get to make some projects to show on this website, that I don’t make a fool of myself…but more importantly…will my projects be useful and apprediated. One can make all the “influenced” items one wants….but if they aren’t useful or appreciated and are just a part of the background noise…well, what good are they. Thanks for sharing the websites.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4840 days

#4 posted 03-13-2008 04:06 PM

Very interesting post. I, too, am intrigued by the “Asian way” since getting my first Japanese tool. Makes me very interested in getting more! I’ve seen several books (like in Japan Woodworker) on Japanese joinery, and I’m also intrigued by the whole style of woodworking there – using the body weight for clamping force, etc.

Thanks for the “rant” (which, I agree with Barry, wasn’t too rantish)!

-- Eric at

View 's profile

593 posts in 5028 days

#5 posted 03-13-2008 04:07 PM

You are right Gary, I can’t believe I forgot, it was the main tag that inspired me to write the post… (pun intended). Now that I stand corrected my original entry is duly edited.

LOL Tim, now for a defined style that is one! :o) And yes, the traditional joinery here IS amazing… although sadly less and less people are able to make it the way it deserves to be done.

You are so right Barry, I can not understand the influences on a work unless they come from the respect of the source.

As usual, thank you all for your comments guys.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 5047 days

#6 posted 03-13-2008 05:13 PM

I see where you are coming from but I don’t think that when people classify their designs as Asian or Japanese inspired they are referring to contemporary Asian furniture, they are hearkening back to classic Asian design elements.

p.s Firefox displays the Kanji just fine.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5053 days

#7 posted 03-14-2008 07:58 AM

So, what’s your analysis/impression of my recent blog series, called “Little Tansu Inspired Case?”

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5262 days

#8 posted 03-14-2008 01:04 PM

Hello Jojo;
—-speaking for myself and since I sell what I make, these words are advertising and marketing words….or tags….

I know many different breeds of woodworkers, whom I meet at shows, on the internet and in person through clubs and guilds. Our common bond is wood and having to sell what we make, in order to produce income and, then there is also the aspect of recognition//ego. Around my neck of the woods there is ‘non-traditional furniture’....’traditional furniture’....contemporary furniture’.....’shaker furniture’....’rustic furniture’ and so the list goes on etc. Within each of these furniture enclaves there are the many niches that each furniture maker is seeking after or for, in order to carve out the distinction that will set his//her work apart from all the rest.

Two of the hottest selling//drawing words in the business at the moment are ‘rustic’ and ‘asian inspired’ or asian inspiration’. Just the other day I was spending time running word combinations of ’asian inspired hall tables’ through the search engine of Dr. Google and it took me no time at all to come across, (and I am not advertising here, but just as soon as I upload this entry….yes, I will be marketing these two workers of wood on the internet)....

The first one is:
Marc Spagnuolo // Marc Spagnuolo and he came up in the number one and two position of page one on Dr. Google's list.

Second one is:
David J. Marks // David J. Marks who came up in the number ten position on page one again.

What we can learn from this is that tags and knowing how to tag your piece of ‘wood art’, will get you recognized in the search engines….which in turn converts to someone tapping that mouse button for your blog-site or web-site and from there it is up to that individual to get in contact with the furniture maker or….for the furniture maker him//her-self to follow that hit back to the source.

I am not saying that tagging for the internet or shows//galleries is the ‘only’ way, but it is one ‘more’ of a way to ‘create’ that special niche in the world of competitive furniture making. Tags are a tool that can draw buyers to the seller….therefore the high end successful Japanese business crowd come to my area to buy ‘rustic’ furniture to take back home, while I look at their ‘asian inspirations’, to create my works of rustic wood art….again, advertising….marketing….and finding//making your own niche in the business of furniture making.

Haha….and then I come here and read about those who want and wonder about going into furniture making full time. All I can say is you better be willing to forsake all that you hold dear in order to pursue this beast….and maybe if the wood gods decide to smile on you after you have put in 60-70-80 hour work weeks, then you’ll find a ‘tag’ that works. Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention about keeping peace in your home, when your working on a project and your loving wife is wondering why you have no-time to socialize with friends, and all you do is talk about how you are working through the process of wood joinery and finishes. Did I also forget the part about all the other ‘things’ you must be doing also….

Well I could go on an on and on….but then, why write a blog story over here in your space, when I could get a number in my blog space ....LOL. Still I liked what you had to say in your write up….”I guess it is the eternal grass-is-greener syndrome or maybe it is that the world as we happen to know it, it is strongly tinted by the glass of the mass media….”. I suspect that you all-ready knew when you wrote this blog, that you would catch my attention and that is good, or at least I hope so. Maybe I just got tagged with a ‘de-bun-king’....keep writing, as this ‘more writing’ of yours is so thought producing in this forest I live in….and,

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 5039 days

#9 posted 03-14-2008 01:45 PM

no one has ever had an original thought !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Michael Brailsford's profile

Michael Brailsford

254 posts in 4650 days

#10 posted 08-04-2008 06:43 PM

The words “Asian Influence” used to describe a piece of furniture can (but not always) make it as Asian as Taco Bell is “Mexican food”.

-- Michael A. Brailsford

View 's profile

593 posts in 5028 days

#11 posted 08-05-2008 11:29 AM

I wouldn’t have said better Michael, unfortunately a pretty good chunk of the time this is how it is. Luckily there are some pieces that can truly and proudly display this tag, like Dorje’s Tansu:

Click for details

Tenontim’s shoji:

Click for details

Phil’s step tansu:

Click for details

or even Rohy’s rendition of a Tea House:

Click for details

All of them are clearly inspired by asian designs but at the same time done straightforward and not trying to copy the originals. They all respect a certain aesthetics that makes them fit properly within that tag but the use of different woods and materials, sometimes unconventional joinery or stock thickness gives them that unique turn that differentiates them from the source. Alas, for the majority of people, just making a reverse taper on a table’s legs justifies the title of ”Japanese” of ”Asian”... And I’m not saying I don’t love some of those designs but, to me, they don’t fit into the category of ”Oriental” stuff.

Anyway, to each its own I guess…

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 4798 days

#12 posted 08-05-2008 01:42 PM

This is a great blog topic, as well as comments, which examines the underlying “essence or soul” of very complex issues. Art, craftsmanship, tradition, labels, etc. and their relation to each other, ourselves and peers has yield more questions than answers, for me anyway. I have attempted to bring up this subject a couple of times in the past but never submitted, not satisfied with outcome; either sounded pompous, winey, vague, or dumb. Thanks for the food for thought. It’s all been done before and we are all unique, just like everyone else.

-- Ciao, gth.

View 's profile

593 posts in 5028 days

#13 posted 08-05-2008 02:07 PM

Thank you gusthehonky, I guess you resumed it pretty well: after all it is just food for thought and maybe we like a little bit too much to put tags on things that don’t really need it…

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 4798 days

#14 posted 08-05-2008 02:36 PM

I thought Franks reply was very insightful, clearly words from a wise man. After I read a few of his past posts, I was drawn to his explanation of western vs. eastern technique, which he penned as his “crisis” Mine involves issues between carpentry and woodwork; mindset and technique approaches. Sorta like cat vs dog owners, both have 4 legs, fur and whiskers but proper care for a happy and healthy pet requires some overlapping but also, very different care requirements.

-- Ciao, gth.

View 's profile

593 posts in 5028 days

#15 posted 08-05-2008 04:25 PM

Frank’s words always tend to be wise but I guess you already knew that gusthehonky.

I concur with him although in my post I was talking more generically, so I find hard to justify the need for such tags when the craftsman that are using them are definitely not producing such work for sale but for personal use or as gifts…

And for what is worth, I am a cat person! :o)

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics