Tomer Avivi creates unique and stunning custom pieces of Judaica art. Inspired by a couple and their story, he engraves and handpaints Ketubahs and Hora Chairs that are personal, unique and simply beautiful. His passion for his work, traditions and the couples he works with is obvious every step of the way and shines through every piece.
To find out what inspires him and to get the lowdown on his process, we interviewed Tomer and we’re so excited to share it with you. Make sure you click through the gallery of his work too, we guarantee you’ll be just as awestruck as we were.
What are your biggest inspirations?
I am inspired by my clients’ life stories. Everyone’s story is unique. I love understanding what makes people who they are today. I am also inspired by nature. I work with such a special canvas, wood from actual tree slabs. I call them God’s finger prints. Just like the uniqueness of my clients’ stories, so are the natural tree slabs I work with. Some of the stories I’ve illustrated are hundreds of years old just like the trees I work with.
How do Jewish traditions influence your works?
Jewish traditions are a big part of my work. The Hora Chairs were created to be a part of the Jewish celebration dance. In addition to engraving my clients’ life stories into the chairs, I have added grip handles so the bride and groom can be secure while being raised. It is something they can keep for generations to come. My ketubahs were also born as a resulted of my Jewish tradition. Not wanting a standard print, I was inspired to create something as unique as the clients’ weddings.
What is the process of getting to know a family/couple and their story?
Getting to know the family is one of my favorite parts. I try to meet my clients in person. If that is not possible, today’s technology allows me to do video conferencing. I like to see their natural environments and be inspired by items they value in their home. I encourage them to provide as much information as possible. It is so interesting to hear my clients’ life stories, their most cherished moments and major milestones. After the first interview, I stay in touch and ask follow-up questions as they present themselves. Every detail in my work is taken from their life story.
What was the driving force in your love for this craft?
My driving force is my late mother. My mother passed away at a very young age. She was 46. She did not have time to leave me money. However, the lessons, values and stories she left behind are priceless. Since becoming a father to 3 children, leaving stories behind for them became a calling. I studied architecture and learned that linking floor plans of the past to the present makes for a better future. Illustrating a life for generations to come is my passion.
What is the significance of the ketubah?
A ketubah is a Jewish marriage license. It has been used for thousands of years. With my work, I take the significance of a ketubah and amplify it. No matter the religion I represent those thousands of years, the value of two people uniting and their families’ stories. For example, all of my pieces are customized and many of my Ketubahs also include family trees.
Tell us your favourite wedding story and how you were involved.
Picking a favorite wedding story is a very difficult task for me. I love them all the same because each is unique in its own way. My work is around the world and I get create pleasure knowing that the pieces have found great homes for generations to come.