Meet the Artist: Gabi Shai

Photo: Courtesy of Gabi Shai

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Bachelor in Education, graduated at Wingate Academic College in Israel. Retired officer of the Israeli Security Agency, being my main activity in recent years, after retirement, the management of international projects related to HLS issues, Citizen Security, Crime Prevention and Counterterrorism, activity that has been interrupted due to the current pandemic.

Finding myself in retirement and at home (Israel), with a lot of free time, I have decided to dedicate my time in artistic creation with “recycled” wood, already having a basic knowledge thanks to the help of my first-born, Hila Shai, a professional carpenter artist.

What inspired you to become an artist?

The transition from the security field to artistic creation with wood has been a natural process, probably due to three main factors.

1- Having been involved, sporadically, in the professional activity of my daughter Hila, from whom I have learned the basics of diverse woodworking

2- To consider myself creative in my professional activity, having been the human element with which I have worked the raw material to model. Creativity that has been reflected in the development of advanced training methods, based on experiential learning.

3- Having time available, mainly the first months of the pandemic, as we find ourselves quite limited in our movements

What is your speciality?

Upcycling projects. Starting from an ecological philosophy, I have decided to focus my activity on the recycling of raw material (wood) in its various forms and discarded furniture, which for various reasons have ended their “useful” life cycle, giving them a new form and life, in a creative upcycling process.

How and where do you work?

Mainly at home, on a daily basis.

What is the most indispensable item in your work area?

My mind and the raw material.

Where do you take your inspiration? Are you pursuing any themes?

My inspiration is sometimes derived from the raw material itself, with which I establish a kind of creative “dialogue”. For example, a small wooden log (Red Eucalyptus) in the shape of a guitar inspired me to create the image of the “Violinist on the Roof” while another (Chinaberry) whose visual characteristic is its striped design, inspired me to create ” Joseph’s dream “.

Additionally, in many cases, works by other artists, published on the web (e.g. Pinterest) serve as an initial source of inspiration.

Do you do bespoke work?

Yes, sporadically.

What projects are you currently working on?

Several projects in parallel. The creation of Chanukkiot for the upcoming Chanukah holiday, the Ad-Honorem preparation of coat hangers to be installed in apartments for autistic youth, the creation of lamps of various sizes based on roots or log bases, and so on depending on the raw material available.

What is or are your favourite items in your current collection?

A very difficult question to answer. It is like asking a father, which is his most beloved son.

There are several favorite creations. Among these I can name Moses on Mount Sinai, in which Moses is observed when presenting the tablets of the 10 commandments to the Jewish people and “The Man on the Edge”, in which a man is observed, sitting on the edge of a precipice, close to a great Metropolis, a composition which can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the observer.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

Perhaps by intuition, sometimes when considering having achieved the goal of the creation process, although I must confess that sometimes this process changes in motion.

What was the first artwork you ever sold?

Violinist on the Roof.

Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?

Preparation of wooden candle holders for my youngest daughter’s wedding.

What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?

Continuation of the joy and pleasure of creation.

Where can we find your work?


Photos: Courtesy of Gabi Shai

Post Author: admin