Saturday, May 26, 2007

Aron Kodesh @ Nechin brothers

...I started fooling around with various shapes, including cylinders, pyramids, and cones. The problem was that none of the shapes would hold Torah scrolls. I was faced with the plain old box: form follows function.
Then I got two ideas that ultimately led to the final design: I realized that I could use different layers of wood—and different woods—to make the shape less rigid, and I saw that boxes of wood didn’t have to have square edges that they could be softened by rounding them over.
The next step was to design the front. I have gained some skill as a craftsperson, but I am neither a designer nor an artist. Luckily, my brother, Bob Nechin, a former Fabrangener and a stained-glass artist in Ein Hod, Israel, is both. He sent me six excellent sketches, some too aesthetically simple, and others too complex for me to realize in wood. From those sketches, I took the most interesting elements that I was able to build and combined them to create the aron you see now.
The aron is made primarily of walnut and maple, which are not only two of my favorite woods but complement each other beautifully, allowing contrast to become an integral part of the design. The maple I used is called curly maple. The wavy darker stripes in the wood, when finished, create an effect that makes you think that you are looking into the wood, not just at it.
The ten amorphous shapes on the doors represent the Ten Commandments. The irregularity of the shapes both follows the general softness of the design and acknowledges that even these commandments are still interpreted. Each shape is crafted from a different wood: padauk; cherry; tiger wood; mahogany; pine; canary wood; cedar; purple heart; oak; and lacewood. ( more from Fabrangen)

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