There is a simplicity and elegance to the pieces I craft, coupled with an element of the unexpected.
I believe that every piece of furniture tells a story. In my work, the story can be intentional and thought out before I pick up a tool or it can evolve with me as I work the piece. From my time at The Krenov School, here are my stories.
MEDITATION ON A CABINET
Japanese Ash, Walnut and Nutmeg with handcrafted brass hardware
This piece was at first inspired by a work by one of the masters, George Nakashima. He made a side table that I fell in love with -and its cube shape. I shrunk the design to fit on a tabletop, lightened the heavy elements and changed the base. I had not yet realized the purpose of this cabinet in the beginning of the design process. It was just a weird little box that would open up to some drawers and a large empty shelf.
In everyone's life personal demons can emerge. Health problems, broken-hearts, loss; I battled a demon during the making of this piece; it became a cabinet for meditation. A special little place to house sage and meditation cards.
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THE DEVILS POST & PANEL
Sapele, Maple and Japanese Ash
The name Devils Post and Panel is a play on words referencing the post and panel construction and the inspiration for the piece, the Devils Postpile National Monument, an incredible basalt formation. The summer before attending The Krenov School, I decided to test my durability with a solo backpacking trip near Mammoth and this beautiful formation. The trip's challenges included a rip-roaring river crossing and traversing a snow bank on a precariously narrow strip of trail high above an ice-cold lake. Coming to the school I knew it would be another kind of test; a test of dedication, creativity and hard work. This table embodies these tests.
The subtle marquetry elements mirror the top of the basalt formation that has been eroded to look like six sided tile flooring. The legs on this table have been chamfered to six sides as well to represent the tall six-sided columns this monument is known for. This volcanic formation, the Devil's Postpile, is a spectacular sight in California.
at The Highlight Gallery
DISPLAY CABINET - GREGADILLO
Granadillo & Swiss Pear
This tabletop glass display cabinet was inspired by an instructor at The Krenov School, Greg Smith. During his time as a student at the school, he had made an intricate pear glass cabinet. He also supplied the granadillo from his personal collection of lumber. Perhaps this is me paying homage to my brilliant mentor.
Conceptually, I was interested in exploring the intent of glass; letting light in. Glass on top and above the drawer accomplished this and provides for an intimate moment with the piece, as you can see into a place, the drawer pocket, that is traditionally enclosed with its contents hidden away.
In the collection of Roger Wall
White Oak & Danish Cord
Designed by Vidar Malmsten in 1970. Vidar was the son of Carl Malmsten, James Krenov's teacher in Sweden. This chair has been made many times by students at The Krenov School because of its exemplary combination of structure, material, and tradition.
For this rendition of Vidar's chair, I procured the white oak from Todd Sorenson, the shop manager at The Krenov School. He is a friend and mentor.
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WOMEN IN WOODWORKING - MEET ERIN IRBER
I first met Erin Irber in the summer woodworking program at the Krenov School of Fine Woodworking, formerly known as The College of Redwoods Fine Furniture Program. I enjoyed meeting Erin and hearing her story, and thought it would be a fun one to share in this column.