craft work {turning tables}

I consider myself a modern maker and I am inspired by seeing people bringing old crafts back. I think there’s an energy embued by the maker in something that has been created painstakingly by hand. Usually it’s not perfect, it might even have some character (the horror!). You can feel that energy when you look at a beautiful timber table compared with a mass produced flat-pack or factory line item. My last post featured someone who works with fibre and today I want to write about someone who works with wood (before I head into the woods for two weeks – yessss!) and who seems surrounded by beauty – at least every one of her pictures make my eyes very happy. If you haven’t heard of her, definitely take the time to check out her site.

Woodworker: Ariele Alasko, Brooklyn To West

Ariele Alasko has been on my radar for a while now and if you read any of the popular design blogs, you will have heard of her too. Apart from being uber photogenic, she is fairly adept with tools and that’s a sure-fire recipe for international girl crush status! She studied sculpture in art school but after working with reclaimed timber on a restaurant refurb, she made a conscious decision to be a craftperson and furniture maker.

Ariele has receieved lots of attention lately for her intricate geometric wooden inlay on tables, bedheads and wall pieces and the general beauty of her studio.  She seems to revel in the cross-country trips she has made to salvage timber and although she worked for a long time in a cramped apartment, she has recently moved into a warehouse-style studio in Brooklyn and is turning her modern craft into a humming business.

Although I can’t be buying me any Brooklyn inlay tables, I am definitely a rock solid fan.

I make my living in the same way as Ariele, making pieces to commission and I think she possibly experiences a similar cycle in the studio. Excitement when you accept a commission followed by inspiration then concentrated mindful making.  When then piece is finished and is being delivered, I clean up the workshop for the next chapter. I have a nervous period of waiting to get the feedback from the client which is a really vulnerable feeling. (I am thinking about this because after fretting for a few days about something I made, I just got an excited call from the new owner today to say she loves her light so much she drove 20 minutes to the next town and dragged her interior designer out of  Woolworths to show it to her in the carpark.) So far, so good. The final stage in the cycle has been relief and happiness.

Happy holidays and I hope 2013 is a year of great joy and peaceful cycles for you. xxx

P.S. Before you ask, yes those are a whole amazing wall of dried Eucalyptus leaves (she made the an enormous piece for a sculpture show at Uni I think) and they are lining a wall in her apartment. So lovely.

All images: Ariele Alasko – Brooklyn To West