We had the good fortune of connecting with Drew Himmelrich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Drew, what principle do you value most?
I read a line once, “If you serve French fries, make sure they’re the best in the world.” I’m not making French fries, and I’m not, like French fry chefs, making the same thing that thousands of other people are making, but the principle of “if you are going to do it, do it as best as you can,” is one that I live by. I am not going to be done with a project until I know it is the best that it can be. I know what is attainable within my ability and I will always work to hit that mark. This principle gets very close to perfectionism, but I make it a point to remind myself how that is impossible. Working towards perfection only works to make someone more frustrated, and I certainly do get frustrated when things aren’t up to my standard but taking something to a standard is at least attainable. The core of the principle is working until you are proud of what you have done. If that means making something at all, that’s great, if it means making something that could be in a museum, that’s great as well. I’m not going to make the best French fries in the world, but I am going to strive for that and never send something out that I am not proud of. This is an important principle for me because it defines my work. If I just built something and was fine with however it came out, that would feel very impersonal. My own requirement to make something as best as I can is unique to me. No two people have the exact same standards and knowing that I have worked to mine makes each piece unique to me. Even if I am building five of the exact same thing, by the nature of the work, each one will require something different from me to make each one the best it can be. That is a clear way to see how each piece is unique and how there is a different personal relationship with everything I send out of my shop.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I find the most rewarding projects to be those that are far from straightforward. Building a nice square table is fun and a nice thing to see finished, but I seek out projects that have a few layers of challenges to them. My training in building theater scenery has given me the skills to design and build projects that are out of the norm. Whether it’s working mechanisms or machines into a build or designing complex structures to work into a design, a-typical furniture is my sweet spot. Building things that have never been built before and need to be built outside of standard practices are the projects I get most excited about. Sometimes challenges prove to be harder than initially thought but working through those makes it all the more exciting and rewarding. It has been hard carving out that market and staying busy, so inevitable there are jobs that are less exciting than others, but more often than not there is enough of a challenge in anything to keep the thrill there.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I chose to pursue theater and set construction because of the amazing experience and opportunities I had in high school. My High School technical director set me on the path to go out and learn all that I could. He gave me the opportunity to have real hands-on experiences which made me learn, at a young age, how much value I can get from creating. My parents, friends, and family have always supported and encouraged me to chase my passions, encouragement that has driven me to where I am today.