Japanese woodworking is the culmination of years of artistic and spiritual development for me.
I am a native Californian. I live and work in Berkeley, in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I went to college in the mid-1960's. I have had two careers in addition to woodworking, though my interest in art and aesthetics goes back to childhood. I spent the 60's and 70's as a newspaper journalist where I won awards for my work in covering law and the courts. I then went to law school in the early 80's and officially became a legal journalist after graduating and passing the California Bar exam.

All the while, I was working with wood and designing furniture and other wooden objects. Sometime in the 1980's I developed a keen interest in Japanese style furniture and joinery processes. I have studied with master Japanese woodworkers and gradually learned many of the techniques they employ to make the beautifully simple objects and styles that characterize that work.

I try to incorporate asian notions of beauty into every piece I make. The joinery must be visible because it speaks to the integrity of the final piece. Thus, you will see through tenons and other interlocking joints where two pieces of wood come together. You will not see a plastic finish on my work because that hides the grain and character of wood. I rub on finishes which soak into the wood, bring out the intrinsic growth and movements of the growing tree that created the lumber I use.

Now, as I continue in my woodworking career, I hope to make many objects of beauty for people who otherwise would have to compromise and settle for commercial, mass-produced furnishings and furniture. Come by and visit. I'm just off the I-80 freeway in north Berkeley, about ten minutes from downtown Oakland.

Robert Kroll

 
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