Master Yakimoto came to Arcosanti to teach his famous wood carving technique.

“Takimoto uses what he calls an empty head to create art that runs counter both to current Japanese wood carving and to the rhythms of his modern world.”

The class was held in the Colly Garden in the afternoon on October 27th.
Takimoto collects pieces of wood from around the world for these classes of all kinds of trees; cedar trees, maples, sequoias, or, specifically at Arcosanti, mesquite and cottonwood.

He lays all the different pieces out on a blanket and each student picks a piece to work with. The process is to take the kiridashi knife – a traditional japanese wood carving knife, and without thinking of anything, using an “empty head,” carve little shavings off the piece little by little until it starts to take shape.

If you were to pass the class in the Gardens, you could feel the meditative energy in the silence and concentration of the students. Yo Takimoto’s process is all about energy. When a student needs assistance, they raise their hand. Takimoto does not immediately offer assistance though, first he plays Rock Paper Scissors with the student. If the student beats Yo, he says, “You have good energy, so keep going.” If the student loses, he takes the piece of wood and adds his expertise.

He brought along several of his own finished pieces as inspiration as well. For more information on Yo Takimoto, visit www.matterofhand.com/yo-takimoto/

(Photos by Sue Kirsch and Shannon Mackenzie, text by Shannon Mackenzie)

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