K is for Krenit

Chartreuse Krenit Bowl

K is for Krenit bowls with their wonderful vibrant enamelled insides and their dark matte exteriors. These bowls are loved with a passion by everyone in my family. My mother used to bring them home with her when she had been back to Denmark and gave them to others for presents.

Designed by Herbert Krenchel in 1953, a Danish engineer, they are my favourite bowls of all time.

I am a bit of a bowl fiend and I much prefer bowls to plates.

I try not to collect stuff, as it weighs you down and ultimately is a fairly pointless activity ( and I hate dusting). but I have a weakness for the shapes and colours of Danish and Swedish tableware of the 1950s and 60s so I have a few of these bowls and some other pottery and bits and pieces from that era.

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that you can find out so much so quickly about so many things. I didn’t know that these bowls were called Krenit or who they were designed by, until one day I decided to find out if the salad bowls I grew up with were still around.  Ebay was a good source of bowls and I have now got more than enough to keep me happy.

Similarly with a fruit bowl that we always had on the table at home, I looked around using search engines and following trails and with a bit of persistence found out all about the pattern, (Blå Eld (Blue Fire) designed by Herta Bengtson for Rostrand, Sweden)  and found replacement bowls for me and my sister to have in our homes.

I then got mildly carried away and bought the teapot and a few other pieces too. But I’ve stopped now, contenting myself with the odd Moomin mug from time to time.

I think it gives me some sort of comfort or maybe a sense of continuity to have these objects in my home, but having too many family things can also be oppressive and I have tried to choose only those things which I love for themselves as much as for what they represent in my memory palace. These bowls make me smile, I don’t know how else to describe the feelings they engender.

What do you feel about objects that you may have collected or inherited over the years? I’d be interested to hear how everyone manages their ‘stuff’.



I give in to you all :  K is for Kermit, ( I never noticed he is the same colour as my favourite bowl – it’s a sign he should be here)  love from me xx

26 thoughts on “K is for Krenit

  1. C

    They’re really beautiful bowls, I can see why you like them so much, even without the memory connection. Are they slightly asymmetrical? I can’t quite tell from the pictures.

    As to what I do with my stuff – I love collecting different bits and pieces – I tell myself it’s for the blog, but as you can see from the blog I tend to use one plate fairly exclusively to photograph on! I think Denby is my favourite, but then I keep seeing other bits I like too. Eclectic. As for organisation, there isn’t any. I need a new kitchen, and I need new cupboards and then…. I need to sort out and organise my vast collection of baking stuff. I’m lucky to have it all though.

    Sorry to lower the tone, but glancing at your post I thought K was going to be for Kermit, and my brother sprang to mind. His childhood toy was Kermit, and had a Union flag on it’s tummy. I know you didn’t really need to know that!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Kermit! I love Kermit :D Halfway up the stairs is a place where I sit… Kermit with Miss Piggy, Kermit is Everyman or rather Everyfrog, he could never lower the tone.

      Darn it, as they say in the US, why didn’t I think of Kermit….. ?

      I found it really hard to photograph the bowls, so sorry if they look asymmetric. Oops… The blue bowl is though, but the others aren’t supposed to be… If you google Krenit you will find loads of photos better than mine than these to show you the forms. The big ones are particularly lovely, being wide at the top, having a very thin edge and tapering to a narrow base. The shape has been copied by Waitrose this summer for their picnic/outdoor ware in melamine.

  2. emilysincerely

    Oh, I know the feeling you are talking about. I am familiar with your style of bowls, but did not know their name or how made them, that is neat. And the internet can provide a lot when you are looking. Ebay, well, it is great and on the same page it is easy to get in trouble when you find things you like. I bought a neat coffee set a few years ago. It has mushrooms on it. While I find the manufacturer on line I still have never found my set anywhere to fine a replacement mug. Oh my gosh – (light bulb moment) I need to post it on the blog, maybe someone else knows.

    I have surrounded myself with family things. I get emotionally attached to “things” but I am learning to do better. I enjoy having things from my grandparents and parents. our house is very eclectic and I love being able to see all these things”. I do switch things out once a year, so I can see more instead of having them in a cabinet unseen.I use the linens from my grandparents. I would rather use them and wear them out enjoying them than have them tucked away in a drawer. Emily

    1. Joanna Post author

      A company called Norman Copenhagen has started production of Krenit bowls once more, but all mine are vintage from various eras, apart from one black one in melamine from the new range. The only thing I would love is one of the original jugs. Is your Mushroom set by Kaj Frank? Send me a pic or post it on your blog – excellent idea ! How wonderful to have old family linen, it must be wonderfully soft. I have a gigantic bath towel of my grandmother’s, thin and soft and with a laundry tag with her name on it. I do use it, but it is really huge :)

      That is a good idea to swap them round from time to time, one stops seeing things if they never move or change position. I had a good visit with my bowls today when I took them into the garden to photograph them.

      1. emilysincerely

        There is a sticker on it that says “Royal Sealy” quality imposts Japan. I don’t think it is not an expensive set, it is rather whimsical. I just did a search online to see what popped up AND SOMEONE ON ETSY IS SELLING SOME PIECES – Oh my gosh. that is so funny. Here is the link to the photos.

        etsy link

        Here is another one on ebay

  3. Jeannette

    I don’t think I’ve seen these bowls before but I love them! The shapes and the colours are so attractive. I like jugs, just for themselves but also to use , i love the different shapes and sizes.

  4. bagnidilucca

    I thought of Kermit too. My son was a huge Sesame Street fan and I was too. I love you bowls. I have a Finnish Arabia set – bowl, platter and jug I bought for my mother in the 1960s. She gave them back to me 20 years later because she knows how much I love them. They are white with rows of red strawberries.
    I love to collect things, but I have to stop now as I have no more room.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Another vote for the frog! He’s up there now :D :D

      I love the sound of your Finnish Arabia. I am not sure I know what they look like, have you got a photo?

      Just had a peek on ebay australia and found a jam jar with your strawberries on it (Pomona)

  5. teawithhazel

    i’ve never seen the krenit bowls before but i think they are quite beautiful..i have three bowls that my mother made..she was a ceramicist..that are really precious to me and they will be cherished by my children too when they inherit them..i also have several wooden trays and small bowls that my father made..he was passionate about trees and timber and his hobby was wood working..he made a huge range of things from parquet flooring and kitchen cabinets to stools and the trays and bowls i have..things that people have put a lot of work into such as tapestries really appeal to me because of the story i attach to them such as imagining the hours of labour and love that went into them with no expectation of reward or recognition..and then they appear in op shops priced so cheaply it seems disrespectful to the maker of them..so i have bought a few but i don’t collect them per se..but i do collect enamel..but once again not the precious stuff..most of my stuff is in cupboards cause i don’t like dust or clutter but i redo my ‘window sill stories’ regularly so different things get an airing from time to time..jane

    1. Joanna Post author

      What a lovely comment :D Thank you for sharing. I really loved your post on your enamel. Click here to read. Objects that are made by hand with care and love and design are something quite different from mass produced objects like these bowls. You are so right to cherish your parents’ work it sounds very precious. I have a little handturned butterknife that my uncle made, it reminds me of him whenever I use it.

      I used to do a little embroidery and it is distressing when you see tapestry cushions that have taken hours and hours of work priced so cheaply.

  6. tom aron

    kermmy kermmy what a chap ahh ….
    when does stuff become stuff? we choose it because we like the look, feel ,sound or expereance of desierd objets but how & when does it become STUFF!
    sorry getting a bit philosophical

    1. Joanna Post author

      The Frog is in :D :D :D

      I’m not feeling very philosophical this morning, I would say they become stuff when you have to dust them or they get a bit sticky, and especially when you have to pack them up to move house..

  7. heidi

    I do collect- I really didn’t start out to- but then I see something that resonates with the inner me- and I want to have it – use it – Look at it- OWN it.
    (hangs head in shame.)
    I like wooden things, and family things of memory, and teapots and bowls and crocks.
    AND I like your bowls- they look like a treasure!
    I also like your inquisitive mind and quick follow- up. I would wonder for a long time and then think about it and then consider doing some research and then put it off for a more convenient time. I procrastinate. And collect. And – it seems- confess to it on a public forum.

    Edit by Zeb:

    Here are Heidi’s fabulous rolling pins. Click here!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have quite a collection of these bowls, though not every colour in all sizes. It took me a while to find these things, lots of saved searches and compulsive checking of ebay. I can hang my head along with you Heidi :D

      I love your rolling pins in particular and I always enjoy your In the Kitchen posts as I love the way you write about the things in your home. (I haven’t told you about the stuffed toys, have I (winks) ?

    1. Joanna Post author

      The frog is here – he leapt onto the bottom of the post this morning – I could hear this chorus of, ‘We want the frog’ :D

      We used to always have our salad in one of those chartreuse coloured bowls. Salad after every meal, we didn’t have dessert very often, so they are imbued with memory for me.

      I would always prefer to eat from a bowl, but we do use plates as well Nic!

  8. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Every time I break a plate or bowl I think about some lovely scandinavian tableware- that my dear is entirely your fault as I would have never thought of collecting any if it hadn’t have been for your blog :-) Now you are telling I can find retro ones as well if I hunt hard enough?!
    Broke another plate today, not on purpose, and I was a bit sad as I was given it almost 20 years ago from my mum… but that does mean I’m one plate closer…

    1. Joanna Post author

      Oh no… how did I get you collecting Scandinavian tableware? I didn’t think I had posted about stuff before. Just those cups and saucers that I won in that giveaway this summer. I’m sorry Brydie. Can I hunt for you? What plates are you looking for?(Surrogate hunting I would enjoy!)

      I have (ahem) had Scandinavian candlesticks from Ebay Australia once upon a time.

      1. cityhippyfarmgirl

        The internet has opened up a whole new world of scandinavian retro tableware for me. Yes, it was that post that you won, and also your lovely moomins, I could blame Steig Larsson too for writing The Millenium trilogy as well, but I have to stop somewhere ;-) Retro kitchenware and I have always been firm friends, and not needing much encouragement.
        I love Emily’s links to the mushroom set- they are wonderful!

  9. Cindy Van Gorder

    Love the Kermit connection with Krenit! Was just thinking of that! Would love to know if I can reclaim the former matte finish on the outside of my vintage Krenit bowl. It was a gift to my parents in 1959. They kept it for years without even liking it. Then I discovered it as a young married woman and asked to have it. They gladly gave it to me and I cherish it still. Just now thought to look it up online. Would love to have more of these. I’m not into collecting but there is something so alluring about the lean, clean, bright design. Any thoughts out there on making the outside of the bowl look new again?

    1. Joanna Post author

      How nice to have a comment on an old post. Hi Cindy! The outsides of the bowls were manufactured with a dullish matte finish, sort of soft but slightly ridged sometimes. If the bowl stood in the sunlight it might have faded, or if it was washed up frequently after use or something. I have one that when I got it turned out to have been painted on the outside with a matt paint, so from a distance it looks very smart, but it isn’t ‘right’ and a collector would not like it that way. You could try a drop of WD40 on a soft lint free cloth like you use for releasing seized nuts and bolts, that would remove any dirt. If it is clean just a light bit of vegetable oil on a cloth will help preserve the bowl. They often developed small rusty patches inside where the enamel goes. I tried patching one once with enamel paint, I wasn’t very successful! What colour bowl do you have ?

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