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About Ken Frye

About Ken Frye
Ken Frye

When Ken Frye crafts his museum-quality furniture, he finds himself on top of the world literally & figuratively.

Visitors to Frye's workshop snake through Upper Los Berros Canyon to reach the studio that sits atop a mountain. The view beats magnificent, giving visitors a glimpse of valleys, ocean & town.

Ken Frye the Craftsman

"I've had a lot of visitors who come out here," Frye, said. "They either love it (the view) or hate it (the dust from dirt roads)."

He estimates spending about 60 hours a week sawing, carving, & polishing in hisshop. Frye's devotion stems from the intense satisfaction he derives from his creative ventures. "I'm a lifer. This is my passion," Frye said. A passion that puts him on top of the world. 
"There is a tremendous level of satisfaction from creating something that will outlast you and that will end up in a museum someday," said Frye. 

Ken Frye the Artisian

Frye motions to a rosewood, walnut hand-carved Gothic Vitrine. The piece will surely stun viewers in a museum someday. For now, Frye includes the carved work in his collection.

He logged 350 hours creating the Gothic Cabinet. "I have to know how many hours I spend. It helps me sell my work," said Frye who keeps track of his invested time. Frye meets most of his clients at high-end art shows in San Francisco & Los Angeles. Upon spying the carvings, Frye said reactions follow the lines of, "Wow, I've never seen anything like this." He sends his art around the country, making individual crates for each piece. After frustrating his high school shop teachers ("I was too intense for them"), he studied under European Master Craftsman, James Krenov, for 3200 hours. Later he came back home to the Central Coast, sculpting his furniture for clients as well as built-in work for the interior design industry.

Only a few hundred people in the world make the type of furniture and art Frye crafts. Speaking of Frye's Cigar Humidor, "It is a gorgeous piece", said Art Center Executive Director Karen Kile. " The pearwood sculpture has a classic treatment as beautiful as the Renaissance carvers."

"Knowing the pieces will be around keeps me going," said Frye, who acknowledges the intricate work can be taxing. One of his favorite pieces is the recently completed jack-in-the-box that resembles a circus tent. The porcelain doll that pops out was created by Nipomo doll maker, Mary Barrette. Frye spent 400 hours making the hand-carved pearwood and bubinga tent from a drawing he sketched.

Frye said he forms one special piece a year. He admits upon completion of such a piece, he feels a bit of remorse as he wonders what will come next. "The joy is in the process," he said. His studio aids the process as it provides him a peaceful environment, which "keeps the creativity flowing," Frye said.

For Open Studios Tour participants, Frye hopes they will leave with a happy realization they have visited some special places and met some special people. "It will make them aware that it is important for artists to show their work," Frye said.

Please contact Ken Frye to discuss your project.