Fumio Noguchi

Fumio is a Japanese carving artisan who works and lives in Nelson since 2000. Born in Japan in 1964 and worked as a Journalist in Japan, Immigrated to New Zealand in 1999 with his family.

Fumio was fortunate enough to get tutored by a Maori carver, Dave Paki at the Maori Carving Academy in Christchurch. Since then, he produces contemporary style Maori Bone Carving and also carves traditional Japanese practical carving; Netsuke (miniature sculpture, worn on Kimono). Some of his works are combined with Maori and Japanese culture that makes his works very unique.

After several years of carving cotemporary Maori carving, Fumio realized his true calling was in carving his own cultural Netsuke. As a descendant of Samurai (believed since 14th century), he has interests in the life of EDO ERA (1603~1867). He enjoys reading books about the life and people in the Edo period.  Fumio was captivated by the Netsuke’s interesting design, background stories, size and exquisite craftsmanship. So, Fumio started to collect Netsuke books and antique Netsuke to study them. Contacting other carvers and dealers with similar interests to further his knowledge, he is still learning to this day. In 2015, Fumio was lucky enough to get advice from Japanese Master Netsuke Carvers in Tokyo.

Deer Antler and Cow Bone are the main materials for him, but he also carves whale bone, Pig Tusk and anything similar that are natural materials. The materials he uses had their own life before and Fumio tries to give them another life. Using very sharp handmade hand tools (Called HIDARIBA) enable him to make extremely detailed miniature wearable sculptures.  His diverse figures are humorous- sometimes human, sometimes animals or sea creatures, each of which is small enough to be held in your palm.