“…form is only a beginning. It is the combination of feelings and a function; shapes and things that come to one in connection with the discoveries made as one goes into the wood, that pull it together and give meaning to form.” James Krenov
Friends and former students of the late James Krenov came from across the country came to Fort Bragg to honor his memory on October 31, his 89th birthday. Krenov established the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in 1981. His message of personal involvement in the craft drew students to Fort Bragg from around the world.
A weekend-long exhibit of cabinets made by the master made the weekend all the more significant. Nine of his works were on display, the largest collection of Krenov work to date. Many are from Fort Bragg, but two also came the San Francisco Bay area. Representing work done from 1976 to 2004, the exhibition gave examples of Krenov’s never-ceasing exploration in the medium of wood. Visitors were welcomed to come into contact with the work, touching it, and to open doors and drawers. Speakers shared lessons, thoughts, and humorous stories with the standing-room-only crowd for more than an hour.
Krenov was a world-renowned master of woodworking. The author of four crucial books for any serious woodworker, Krenov taught a philosophy that has become a prerequisite for advanced cabinetry throughout the world. A recognized furniture maker in Sweden, he moved to Northern California in 1981, where he created and led the College of the Redwoods’ Fine Woodworking School. In his twenty years with the school he taught hundreds of eager students from around the world while continuing to build his own fine furniture. He retired from the college in 2002, still actively creating cabinets in his home woodshop. As his eyesight failed him, he continued to make planes by touch until the spring of 2009.
The family has requested that those wishing to remember the life of Jim Krenov with a gift send a donation to the James Krenov scholarship program. To view images of some of the last pieces made by Jim, visit JamesKrenov.com.