We love showcasing the fact that aprons aren’t just worn by chefs. Artists of all kinds get just as dirty — and working, creating & doing what you love can sometimes be a messy job.
Sawdust, paint, coffee grinds, ash, clay, and ink are all remnants of arts and hobbies that you might need an apron to wear and to protect you. It’s also a perfect way show who you are and how hard you work.
A perfect example is the stunningly beautiful, sweet, and inspiring Ariele Alasko who, out of her woodworking studio in Brooklyn, makes incredible wooden pieces. Spoons, cutting boards, headboards, wall panels, ice cream scoopers, butter knives, coffee tables and teepees are just some of the amazing things she makes. You also might know her already on Instagram for her whimsical photos of flowers, road trips, her pieces and amazing dog Mazie (who was kind enough to play with my dogs too that day).
I had the pleasure of meeting with her and seeing her wear our apron loud and proud while she sanded and molded the most beautiful wooden spoons you’ve ever seen.
Here’s our interview with her and some photos I shot of her at work:
How long have you been doing woodworking and what got you started?
I began woodworking in college, but didn’t really get serious about it until a couple years after I graduated. I taught myself a lot of what I know through trial and error. I began building my patterned furniture in 2011 when I stumbled across a bundle of plaster lath out for trash in Brooklyn, which is the long strips of wood I use in all my designs.
What is your favorite tool and why?
Right now it’s my hook knife, for carving spoons, because I love the feeling of scooping out hard wood and slicing through it like it’s butter. My other favorite tool is my vintage Delta Homecraft bandsaw that I inherited from my boyfriends father, who inherited in from his father who used it to build model trains.
Favorite kind of wood to use?
I mostly carve walnut. It’s pretty perfect as far as woods go. I’m also really loving spalted maple.
What’s the first thing you do when you finally finish a piece you’ve been working on?
When I finish a piece I usually live with it for a while. I like to let my work sit around for just a bit as a way of detaching before I sell it. It’s easy to get attached to something you’ve spent hours, or days, or weeks working on.
What is your favorite piece that you’ve ever made? If you can’t answer that one, what is a piece you’ve made that has the best story behind it?
Yep that’s a hard one. My favorites seem to rotate quite often and usually end up being something I just recently finished. Right now I’m pretty fond of a coffee table top I built with a really intricate design that took me weeks to make. I’m so proud of it, and might have a hard time seeing that one go whenever it’s finished.
What is your least favorite part of the process?
Where do you want to travel to next?
Honestly, I’d like to drive across the country again. I just completed a trip to California and back in my old car with my dog, and I’m already rearing to go again and explore more of the US. Other than that I’d really love to go back to Italy — as long as I can take my dog with! (highly unlikely).
il vecchio in Pacific Grove, California. Conveniently, it’s my fathers restaurant and I designed and built the interior, but hey, they food is beyond AMAZING and worth any trip to try it out.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I would be happy if I was still doing the same thing in ten years, working for myself making things I enjoy making — but perhaps from a real house with a bit more space around it. And possibly some chickens.
Interview and photos by Allie Settle