"I think that I’m fairly proud of the fact that I have not changed because of material conditions – that I have not adapted myself to the marketplace and said, “I’ve got to make things that I can sell,” instead of “I’ve got to make things that I can like and other people hopefully will like.” In other words, I can still look in the mirror and the guy I see there – he’s not good looking, but he’s still the same guy I used to know." – James Krenov
Over the years, as I’ve read more and more about Old Jim, I’ve really come to appreciate his humor, his insight into doing what you love and his take on drawing your own line in the sand about what’s important to you. A journey through those first few chapters of “A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook” reveals Jim’s humble beginnings. Tight budgets and tight spaces were a common theme as he launched himself on his woodworking adventure.
The fact that he emphasizes not playing to the market sort of flies in the face of most of the sales and marketing advice we often hear…especially when trying to keep the lights on and your belly fed. His tact even strays from what many have taken as business gospel…find a need and fill that need. While many successful endeavors have been launched in that vein, Jim takes things in another direction. His life was a focused effort in perfecting the construction of designs that spoke to him. In doing so he created works of art that celebrated and honored the material for himself. The resulting pieces were then admired and desired by many.
Did Jim actually, unwittingly, find and fill a need as dictated by the market…or did he produce works with so much passion in the craft he loved that the results couldn’t be anything less than amazing to those who saw and bought them?