Completing the series of  quotes on the craft life from ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’:

I’ve never believed that a really good craftsman is intended for a tremendous public…the craftsman lives in a condition where the size of his public is almost in inverse proportion to the quality of his work…(or) the total content of the work that he does.

And he really hasn’t that much use for a hundred or two hundred people banging on his door, wanting things, because finally, this craftsman is the one who does the work himself, and gives people something very personal and therefore not accessible to everyone.

James Krenov at work, please see below for photo credit

Photo comes from this site

Continuing quotes on the craft life from ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’:

The good thing is to develop your habits and discipline and get a flow in the work so that it all makes long-term sense. There is no way of making it easy though you can make some of it easier and most of it enjoyable by being friends with what you are doing. You learn more that way, and the work shows this. Which in turn helps to keep you going, without thinking about all the time and effort it takes: a large part of the battle is getting to the point where you no longer worry about the time and work involved.

Still, for some of us it is too much. In the long run we can’t do it. This is understandable.

And this is why, when we see a fine piece of cabinet-making, we should look closely, and think about what it means, and remember that it is not just pieces of wood put neatly together, but a measurable part of an honest craftsman’s life.

(James Krenov died at the age of 88 in 2009).

Continuing quotes on the craft life from ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’:

There is a true need to create in a climate in which (fine work) can be done and appreciated.

Maybe this atmosphere of understanding will come…But until it does come, work. Even when you are worried, work. Don’t be pressured by originality..(the pressure of always having to create something new). It’s a losing battle. And so exhausting. Stay out of it.

It took me a long time to realize this and accept my unoriginal self. [Sarah’s note – he is too humble here, his works are beautiful and original]. Try to find the sort of people for whom there is another originality – that of the quiet object in unquiet times. It is rather ironic…We’re so uptight that relaxation is something new, especially with regard to things. So a piece in low key, where wood has its message and there is an idea and an inspiration, where someone has worked honestly and well but with humility too –  this is original.

Krenov Cabinet on stand

Continuing quotes on the craft life from ‘A Cabinet Maker’s Notebook’:

The best is by its very nature selective: why not accept it as such? This doesn’t make crafts as nostalgia or entertainment or therapy less justifiable. It’s simply that s a dedication, as the center of one’s life, craft is one thing- and as anything else it is a different and separate matter.

Both are needed. Between them we should have an enriching dialogue.
But force them together and you get gibberish.