I've been bouncing all over the place with these Friday favorites. So keeping with the theme of that, the artist I'm featuring this week is the incredible carpenter and craftswoman Ariele Alasko.
Combine an epic road trip, some amazing Italian food, repurposing materials, an eye for detail, some dumpster diving and some beautiful craftsmanship and you have barely touched the surface on the scope and tales behind this multi-talented artist.
Ariele grew up in California then moved to New York to study sculpture and found her love of building reclaimed furniture. She has been living and working out of her apartment in Brooklyn these past years and churning out some gorgeous pieces of functional art. Everything she builds is made from recycled and salvaged materials, found via dumpster diving, junk stores, abandoned barns and diners and a bunch of luck along the way. She makes everything from coffee tables and dining tables to wood cutting boards and lamps, all with a unique quirk to them.
One of her most recent projects (and my favorite!) was building and designing an entire restaurant. Her family opened Il Vecchio in Pacific Grove, California last fall but for the 6 months prior to the opening, Ariele was planning and building and replanning then building some more. Before the building began, Ariele spent 9 days traveling across the country from Brooklyn to California visiting decrepit barns, abandoned diners, junk shops, yard sales and everything in between to gather wood and chairs and supplies for one of the best blank pages any artist could ask for. She built 30 tables from scratch, surfaced the walls with salvaged barn wood, found homes for giant whisks and an assortment of other unexpected materials. The result is a stunning, comfortable and inviting space with some of the best Italian food I've had state side. It's amazing that there is so much character in just one space.
Ariele is extremely talented and I really hope I can one day own a piece of hers! Alas, for the time being, drooling over photos, recreating the patterns via sketches and following her blog will have to do. Please check out her work and send her a hello, and be sure to visit the restaurant to see her work in action!