The Krenov Foundation-archive

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About the Archive

Early in his career as a cabinet maker, James Krenov took pains to photographically document his work. He went through rolls of film in his shop recording construction processes and depended upon the professional photographer, Bengt Carlén for studio images of finished work.

The results of those efforts are beautifully presented in Krenov's four books published before moving to Fort Bragg, California in 1981. The Cabinetmaker's Notebook (1975), The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking (1977), The Impractical Cabinetmaker (1979), and James Krenov Worker in Wood (1981) continue to be be influential and the best representation of the photography and his philosophy.

Krenov left behind scattered remains of images from his early work. The photos on this site of that period were stored at the College of the Redwood's Fine Woodworking (CRFW) office. We wish to be able to add other photos that Krenov distributed to other locations. There is little here that is unfamiliar to owners of his books, but hopefully the collection proves to be an accessible alternative.

Krenov continued to photograph in the early years of CRFW, but primarily of student work. We have only a few of his photos of his own work during that time. He only sporadically employed a professional photographer upon finishing a cabinet. Photos of his work during the productive 1990s shown here are largely due to the attempts of a rank amateur staff member, yours truly.

We've endeavored to title Krenov's early work referencing his books. He only occasionally gave a piece a pet name. We've followed that convention in his CRFW work, giving names when known and generic titles in other cases.

This Archive was made possible through the efforts of many. Kevin Shea painstakingly scanned prints from Krenov's Swedish period. All of the black-and-white images here, plus a few color shots, are presented due to his work.

James Krenov pondering

The Krenov Foundation and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County provided funding for slide scanning, organization, and posting.




Curator: David Welter - Archivist: Kevin Shea


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