Cabinet by James Krenov, photo by Jonathan Binzen

Click here for a slide show of James Krenov’s exquisite cabinetry.

Years ago, when Rende first bought ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’, I wrote down some passages of Krenov’s simple wisdom about living the life of a master craftsperson. His words are just as relevant some 20 years later and I’d like to share them with you across a couple of posts.

Working alone poses problems of discipline and aims, and you have to get on lifelong terms with your work and yourself. For most of us, in the beginning stages and perhaps always, it’s a condition of struggle and discovery and secret satisfactions.

Sometimes you are not making as much money as the plumber…, but you are alive with your work, and I think that one of the important points to keep you going is that you enjoy it-not hobby enjoyment or periodic enjoyment, but the enjoyment of being with it.

That, of course, means that you must save your energy, you must develop methods of working with wood that lead to a sort of harmony, a satsifaction that you are, with a minimum of effort, achieving the maximum of sensitivity. You are saying what you want to say, finally, and you’re doing it in a way that, despite all the sweat and hard work, gives you satisfaction.

This is the way you want to live.

Tiny books

May 11, 2011

The first 25 little books

I’m currently working on a surprise gift for a friend’s birthday. I’m making one little book for each year of their life so far. They have reached a venerable age, so there are quite a few to go. I love doing it though. It is meditative, you can pick it up anytime like knitting, and it is fun to see the stack growing. Each book has a cover and 4 pages and is sewn with one stitch.

I’ve dipped into my paper collection; it is heartening to have a destination for all those scraps of wrapping paper, hand decorated papers, bits of rice paper, remnants of discarded art, postage stamps, etc that I compulsively save.  The insides of the books are cut from magazines, mostly the text pages.

Below you can get an idea of the scale, they are actually about 15 millimeters square (around 5/8ths of an inch).

Little books workspace

Spoonful feature

May 4, 2011


Balloon by Jesophi, Jewellery Designer

I’m thrilled that the shop is featured on the blog of a delightful little zine I ordered, called Spoonful, a happiness companion. Thanks Anthea! It is, as the title suggests, a bite sized helping of food for the soul.  There are hearty little snippets of literature, art, and musings on happiness, enhancing the everyday, creativity and more. 

I ordered it to include in my shop as part of the mission of bringing in inspiration from all over the world into this tiny little village where I live. There are just so many wonderful things happening on a grass roots level in the area of creativity and community building that people here would never get exposed to without a guide. So I guess that is what part of the function of this shop is.  Anyway, Spoonful is reasonably priced and beautifully presented, with a nice layout and colour artwork. I’m enjoying, after having read my 3 issues, dipping in and following some of the links, to say, Denise Sharp a creator of whimsical works in paper and calligraphy. Have FUN!

Click for Jesophi Jewellery designer’s Etsy shop