Friday, September 11, 2009

James Krenov 1920-2009

James Krenov passed away yesterday, September 10, 2009. He was an inspiration to woodworkers throughout the world through his books and teaching at the College of the Redwoods.

He was a particular influence in my own life though we had never met. When I discovered his book, A Cabinet Maker's Notebook I realized that three of my particular interests, woodworking, philosophy and writing could be combined in my own quest for greater meaning. Woodworking was s subject that could be the core of intelligent discussion of life and greater meaning.

I had the small honor of sharing a page with him in Fine Woodworking No. 117 March/April 1996. Of three articles on the page, one was about Krenov's 75th anniversary. Another was own first time to have a piece of work in the magazine, and I hoped at the time that Krenov's photo on the page would lead him to take note of my own simple work.

Richard Bazeley sent me the following quote and note this morning.
"The first attempt with a plane that succeeded may have been the turning point of my life." -James Krenov

"I was sad to hear the news of his passing but then I saw the photo of the students in your class planing the maple and this quote came to mind. The writings of James Krenov were a turning point in my life and through simple woodworking practices like planing I hope to keep that spirit alive."
While the course of world culture was toward regarding craftsmanship as inconsequential, and as American furniture makers came to regard design and the potential for manufacturing as being of greater importance than the details of hand and heart, Krenov's voice was that of wilderness and nobility. His simple work and his stories about that work showed some of us that not all that we do as human beings can be found reflected in the bottom line.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:15 PM

    He will be missed. I open my copy of his book when I need to recharge, with no particular project in mind.