What I appreciate about creatives is their ability to see art and beauty in even the most mundane things. I’d bet no one has ever looked at pencil shavings and thought “hey, there’s potential in there”, but again, that’s where the design eye comes in handy. Nanako Kume’s Sharpener Shades were designed directly inspired by pencil shavings…and no, her shades aren’t simply inspired by shaving – they’re literally made from a solid block of wood in the shape of pencil that has been sharpened on a larger than life pencil sharpener built by Kume herself!
“Since childhood, I was fascinated by the shape and transience of the shavings that are made when sharpening pencils,” Kume mentions. “I thought that by increasing the size and the thickness of what should be thrown away as waste, it would be possible to create new products while maintaining the beauty of the form.”
Designer: Nanako Kume
The Kume process includes many interesting variables. She meticulously chooses the types of wood based on their grain, the shape of the wood block (which determines the skirt pattern of the shave), the speed at which the block is shaved (which determines the shape of the coil) and finally stain on the exterior coating of the wood. , which gives each suspension its unique color accent.
However, the most impressive part of this sharpening process involves the massive sharpener that Kume built to help realize his vision. The sharpener is manually operated, using a rotating shaft that allows Kume to apply a spinning and descending process to each block of wood.
The process is decidedly unique. Kume first shapes the wooden blocks into the desired shapes, after which they are dyed, steamed (to make them soft), and then finally sharpened. Once she is happy with the shape of the wood chips, they are allowed to dry, after which light fixtures are added to make a pendant light!