Raphael Kerem studied broom-making many years ago with authentic Appalachian-style makers. He has interpreted traditional designs with local woods and other materials. The broom corn he uses is of rare quality, perfect for daily use, imported from parts of the United States and Mexico.
The broomcorn plant was first described in Italy in the late 1500s. Benjamin Franklin is credited with introducing broomcorn to the United States in the early 1700s.
Broomcorn is a coarse annual grass that grows 6 to 15 feet tall. The long fibrous panicle of the broomcorn plant is used for making brooms. In the U.S., domestic broomcorn acreage is low because of the limited demand for the crop and its vast labor requirements, particularly for harvesting.
“My brooms are made of natural broom corn, a plant related to sorghum and sugarcane. The handles are sugar maple saplings carefully chosen from the local forest, or turned hardwood (often cherry). I enjoy keeping a traditional hand craft alive!” – R.Kerem
Raphael Kerem is also an architectural designer and woodworker. He lives with bookbinder Tanya Deacove in the Village of Burridge, near Westport, Ontario.