Choosing the images for this week’s Space to Create post was incredibly difficult. I adore the amazing reclaimed timber furniture made by Ariele Alasko and all her photos are gorgeous. Ariele, whose business is called Brooklyn to West, describes herself as “a builder, a fixer, and a do-it-myselfer”. Her studio is in an industrial building in Brooklyn which she describes as a dream. I have to say it’s my dream studio too! I hope you enjoy this interview with Ariele and a peek into her creative life.
Where do you live?
I live in the Bedstuy area of Brooklyn with my lovely boyfriend of almost eight years, our cat of five years, and our dog of just over a month! We have the bright and sunny top two floors of a brownstone.
Where do you create?
My studio is about ten blocks away from our house, on the sixth floor of a huge industrial building with giant windows and wonderful view of Manhattan from a distance.
When do you create? Is it a full time job?
Yes, I’m in the studio five days a week at least, from about 10am to 6 or so. Although Saturdays is a wonderful day to be there because the building is completely empty.
What path led you to this creative place?
I studied sculpture in college, worked for some artists, then quit and was jobless for two months. Out of the blue I got an offer to build and design an entire restaurant in CA, so I did that for seven months and had never worked so hard in my life. After, I returned to BK and decided to continue building furniture, tables mostly, though I did so in the middle of my apartment for almost a year before I got a studio. It was a slow transition while I built up an online following and started getting enough commissions to do this full time.
What’s your elevator pitch? How do you describe what you do?
Mostly, people think I’m pulling their leg when I tell them I build furniture. I keep photos of my work on-hand in my phone as proof, and let the work do the talking. If I happen to be wearing a dress that day, the convincing get’s even harder!
Where do you find inspiration and motivation?
I find inspiration in the wood. Looking at a big bundle of recently dumpster-dived lath makes me want to build. I get motivation from the people who commission work from me, as it makes me really happy to read how excited they are for their new headboard or wall panel.
What are the essential items in your workspace?
My chop saw, my nail gun, a good work table to build on, my hammer to pull nails, and soon to be my new shop dog as soon as she gets accustomed to all the loud noises.
What advice do you have for aspiring creatives?
Start a blog. Document your work. And then go for it — it sounds a bit cheesy, but I quite my day job two years ago with no plans for the future. All I knew was that I liked to make stuff, and that I wanted to be my own boss. I just kept building things until something stuck. Almost everything I am today happened because I started my blog and blogged everyday for a year. I wasn’t big on blogs before that, but the exposure and connections that’s possible through them amazing and endless.
Do you have a dream that you’d love to fulfill?
For the moment I’m keeping my dreams small, and my dream is that I’d like to expand into some metalwork and start welding my own table bases!
Thanks so much Ariele for sharing your unique and beautiful craftsmanship and your thoughts. You can find out more and connect with Ariele here: