A Deep Affinity for Trees and Nature Takes Root
Jeremy Kimchi grew up exploring the beautiful woods surrounding his home and developed a strong love of trees. Now Jeremy takes that love, and a remarkable set of skills, and turns fine wood into elegant, warmth-infused pieces of functional art.
When and how did you first develop your fascination with wood?
I grew up near Ithaca, New York in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. We lived in an old farmhouse located on wooded land. Being an only child, I spent long hours exploring the woods on my own and developing a strong affinity for trees from an early age. Eventually, I learned to identify all the various species—in all seasons of the year—and I grew to appreciate their particular characteristics and uses.
Years later, after making aliyah and completing my army service, I developed a deep interest in fine woodworking; the bond that I developed as a child with trees and wood now had a way to really take root. To this day, whenever I cut into a board, I immediately recognize, and revel in, the scents I learned to identify in my youth.
What is it about wood as a medium that speaks to you?
Wood is an infinitely varied material. Each piece is unique; a creation in its own right. Wood is also warm and inviting. A few unique and stunning pieces of art or furniture lovingly crafted from fine woods can turn any space into a welcoming space.
Where did you receive your training?
I’ve had several types of training. I learned the most during a very intense year in which I apprenticed to a master craftsman and artist in Pennsylvania. Following that, I returned to Israel in 1992 and promptly established my own studio-workshop.
How would you define what you do?
Over the years I’ve arrived at the term wood artist; I believe that accurately describes what I do. I mainly design and hand-craft one-of-a-kind pieces of functional art. My goal is to create furniture that is both highly functional and beautiful to the eye as well as the touch. I work in both the private and public sectors, making pieces ranging from coffee tables to Torah arks, blanket chests to corporate conference tables.
What are the steps to producing a custom piece?
The first and most important step is to make the initial contact with the client. I am a big believer in direct, honest relationships, and I think I’m a good listener. Once I’ve heard what the potential customer has in mind, I provide a thoughtful and practical assessment. After our initial meeting, preferably on-site, the client will receive sketches and a rough estimate. Following this, we discuss the best way to progress towards the realization of the perfect piece.
Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
I derive inspiration for my designs from many different areas: flora and fauna, geological landscapes (such as the Judean Desert outside my workshop) and the human form, as well as various design aesthetics from around the globe.
Your spirituality is very evident in your work. How do you channel your faith into your pieces?
I think a very basic part of my being a wood artist stems from my need to reaffirm the importance and uniqueness of the human spirit. I strive to create pieces that allow people to become more connected—to themselves, their community and to a certain extent, to the Creator.
What is the most intricate piece you have ever created?
`I would have to say that the aron kodesh I just completed for a yeshiva in the United States was the most massive and demanding piece I’ve ever done.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
There are many rewarding aspects to my work. But perhaps one of the nicest is seeing pieces that I made many years ago being used and enjoyed by the next generation. I hope and believe that the creative fruits of my labor will live on into the future.
Jeremy Kimchi is a master wood craftsman living in Kfar Adumim. Jeremy creates wooden masterpieces of any size or style, beautifully customized to your style. He can be reached at 052-321-3980, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website www.kimichidesigns.com.