Born and raised on a farm in rural China which Mr Qi describes as ‘in the woods, down a dirt road,’ imondi’s Factory Manager spent a lot of time working with his hands from an early age. By the time he was 5, Mr Qi could swing a hammer and use countless other tools.
After moving into town following high school he worked several jobs, mostly doing labor, “I worked on local farms and did odd jobs mostly in construction,” he recalls. “And, although I worked with wood a lot, I never purposefully created something out of wood until years later.”
That year was 1982. The year his daughter needed help reaching the kitchen sink. Ever the attentive parent he made her a handy step stool out of pine. It was then that Mr Qi discovered his true calling and sought to learn more about furniture and cabinet making. Although everything he learnt was self-taught and through various jobs he acquired over time, this paid off handsomely when he began working in a family run company specializing in antique furniture restoration where he quickly become the most adept carpenter in the team. “I didn’t have any formal training so I was truly grateful to be working and learning the trade. There was something to learn from everyone in the trade. I was also fortunate to meet other self-taught woodworkers whose shared knowledge of woodworking helped me to appreciate and accomplish so much more,” he says. “Restoring furniture opened my eyes to all that was possible when working with something as beautiful as wood.”
Spending 17 blissful years restoring antique furniture and having completed many beautiful furniture projects the time came when Mr Qi wanted to broaden his experienceinto a differentkind of wood working environment.“I felt I didn’t want to just specialize in furniture restoration. I was wanting to try a new form of craft in wood working that I was excited about and could get other’s excited about it too. So, when the job at imondi came up I jumped at the chance.” With that he went on to join imondi as Factory Manager in 1999 and has since been buying and hauling back salvaged wood to create into one-of-a-kind floors.
And, when he’s not working? “My job is also my hobby and my passion. Personally, my experience as a wood worker has been very rewarding. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to do what I love every day. There are not too many days when I’m not trying to satisfy my curiously for new ideas, different ways to work with the product or more efficient working methods to implement. I have a true compassion for wood working!”