Meet Ido Yoshimoto: A Former Arborist turned Experimental Artisan
“I grew up around sawdust and chainsaws,” this experimental artisan recalls of his childhood in Inverness, California, where his father worked as an assistant to the legendary abstract sculptor J.B. Blunk. Enchanted by the forest, Yoshimoto stuck around, finding work as an arborist that allowed him to spend his days in the woods, getting to know nature. Decades of climbing and cutting trees taught him to decode their grain—what kind of soil they grew in, how much rain they got, whether they had been battered by wind. He now uses that intimate knowledge to transform wood specimens into stools, tables, and functional sculptures, working out of Blunk’s erstwhile studio, just across the street from his own cabin.
Instead of air-drying the raw timber, which can take a year for every inch of thickness, Yoshimoto sometimes uses green lumber, allowing the finished piece to crack, warp, and change over time. Recently he carved a table from eucalyptus, which he calls “the most unstable wood.” Such unpredictability is not for the faint of heart, but a suite of AD100 talents has embraced his go-with-the-grain approach. For a Charles de Lisle project in San Francisco, Yoshimoto created a patchwork façade in unfinished redwood that will silver with age. Fellow Californians Nicole Hollis and Commune Design have also taken note. Simply explained, Yoshimoto says, “I like to let the wood show its own character.” instagram.com/ido_yoshimoto —HANNAH MARTIN