Take a look at many of the Readers Galleries in FWW. Lots of great stuff.
Maybe a couple of them might get promoted by the marketing machine to become
Promotion and media exposure make stars out of some pretty ordinary artists.
That's not to suggest that Nakashima, Maloof, Krenov, Tage Frid and such aren't
deserving of the kudos bestowed on them, but to suggest that they're the only
ones out there is silly.
I have visited enough wood shows to have seen some fabulous work, knowing that
if some of these pieces had a 'Krenov' signature on it, the value would go way
up, without anybody knowing that 'Krenov' didn't make it... IOW.. the stuff was
good enough to have been built by any of the big names.
That tells me that Joni Mitchell's "Star Making Machinery" is alive and well in
any industry/ art form.
Heavy on image and perception, weak on substance.
1943 - 1990 - Created some of the most interesting furniture and
architectural pieces of the middle and latter parts of the twentieth
In 1965 I had the good fortune to visit Nakashima and order a walnut
coffee table --- one of the luckiest things I ever did. I still get
pleasure seeing that table in our living room. A few years back we
revisited the Nakashima studios and got a side table designed by his
daughter, Mira. He taught her well.
You can visit Nakashima --- I think on Saturday mornings. The studio
display is breath-taking. One warning ... Don't bring your credit card
or checkbook ... the stuff is so seductive it's damn near impossible to
leave without ordering something.
About 20 years ago as an office equipment repairman, I was sitting in a
law office in Easton, Pa waiting to be shown to the broken piece of
equipment I was to service. Suspended on the wall in front of me were
5 large walnut slabs. Each had its own beautiful, wild figure without
any straight grain. They were mounted to the wall from behind with
short metal posts. Each slab was about 6 inches short of the floor and
ceiling. They seemed to float in mid-air. I had recently started my
very serious furniture building hobby. I had been taught to always
seek out straight grained lumber and that anything else was practically
"firewood." But I couldn't take my eyes off these incredible slabs.
Each had its own personality. I commented to the receptionist how
beautiful they were. She called the lawyer who owned the firm and he
came out to meet me. He told me the slabs were made by a George
Nakashima from New Hope. He then gave me a tour of his office where
every piece of furniture was also made by Mr. Nakashima. From that
moment I never looked at a slab of wood quite the same. Years later I
bought The Soul of a Tree and Krenov's "The Impractical Cabinetmaker."
Two years ago I was fortunate to take a class taught by Jere Osgood.
Obviously there is much to learn from these master furniture builders.
And though each is different in their approach, they all have a
reverance for the medium. And while I doubt if I'll ever approach
their level, I still take great joy in bringing order to nature's
beautiful chaos by transforming a tree into a piece of furniture.
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