2009 has seen the passing of two very well known and admired woodworking icons, Sam Maloof and Jim Krenov. But we also lost another fine craftsman in Alan Peters who died on October 11th.
There will be many, I’m sure, who are already asking, “who was Alan Peters?” Not surprising since Peters was British and not nearly as well known in America as Krenov and Maloof. Also, Peters worked in a much more traditional vein even though he was heavily influenced by Japanese woodworking and was primarily considered an “Arts and Crafts” stylist.
Peters’ identification with Arts and Crafts design is a direct result of his association with and apprenticeship under Edward Barnsley. Barnsley was deeply immersed in the Arts and Crafts movement (he was to Britain what Stickley was to America) but his work always displayed a much greater level of detail than was typical of the Arts and Crafts period. Peters, likewise, was a master of fine inlay work and drawers that were so precisely fitted that, they would “slide on a cushion of air and when pulled out, would cause the other drawers to retract slightly” into the almost airtight case.
Peters was in the forefront of the woodworking and craft furniture revival of the late 70’s and early 80’s. He had several write-ups in, and a few contributions to Fine Woodworking magazine during that time, which brought his work to the attention of American artisans. But, while he has held the same status in the British woodworking world as Krenov and Maloof held here, he never really gained the reverence of American woodworkers in the way that Krenov and Maloof did. Nevertheless, his passing deprives the world of another of its finest contemporary designer/makers.