This past spring we said goodbye to Britta Krenov who passed away peacefully at the age of 94. In Jim's farewell address that we listen to at the end of each term, Jim speaks of just how important Britta was to him, and how grateful he was for her love. Several years ago, I was visiting Jim in his workshop one afternoon, this was about the time his eyesight began to fail. While he reflected back on the craft, I recognized just how much he missed teaching. I asked Jim if he would consider speaking to my students by phone. He immediately dismissed the idea suggesting that it would be to difficult to articulate our work over the phone. When I mentioned this to Britta before heading home, she said to leave it with her. When I arrived home later that week, there was a message from Jim saying "When can we start?" She facilitated each of the nearly two hundred and fifty lectures that followed. Britta was a kind and gentle soul who supported Jim his entire life as a craftsman. She will be dearly missed by all those fortunate enough to know her.
“I made one object at a time because of the wood, because of the tools, with a certain idea and hope, and somehow these objects won friends and gradually, gradually, my confidence and experience increased. But for a very long time, it was touch and go. Even now, although people may think that I’ve got it made and things are going fine, even now I am only carrying my end of the plank. Someone else who is sharing life with me and has believed from the beginning in what I am trying to do is carrying the other end of that plank.” - James Krenov A Cabinetmakers Notebook
The above quote was taken from A Cabinetmakers Notebook. Jim wrote it in recognition of Britta, who supported Jim his entire life as a craftsman. I read this passage at the presentation of my first piece at the College of the Redwoods in honour of my soul mate, my partner in life and work, who has been with me my entire life as a craftsman. At the end of each term, I ask one of our students to read the passage, in honour of all those who support us in our life and work. This term, Yvonne had to step well outside her comfort zone and take on many new responsibilities at the school, including delivering JK's lectures. I felt it only fitting, that I read the passage myself in honour of Yvonne and Caroline's work in my absence.