June 24, 2012

lightning and woodworking, six floors up

{a thank you to the cooling rain, and the first thing made in my new studio}

The heat made it unbearable through those huge factory windows, magnifying the sun and cooking us in that studio of ours. When the rain came I was uncomfortably halfway through the first headboard I have made in months -- the first thing I built in my studio! Thunder was a welcome sound and we watched the downpour with the windows open, cold mist blowing in and it felt like heaven. We took our shoes off and crawled through the window onto the roof where the rain hit like cool relief. I've never welcomed a storm with such open arms, was sad to see it pass when the sun came back we muttered and complained again. Not a whole lot to complain about, really -- something like the sun. Like when I find myself grumpy that there is no place to get an iced coffee within three blocks of our studio, I've gotta stop myself. When you think about it, suffering through the lack of a refreshing beverage in proximity to my location is ridiculous. Really, Ariele? It took me a moment, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with the amazing things we get to do, like being barefoot in a cool summer thunderstorm.

So hello to you, dear headboard! You were the first thing I built in this new space, and if you weren't made of wood I'd consider smashing a champagne bottle to christen you like a boat. But you were created in the lightning and the heat, so I suppose that type of welcome will have to do. 

June 20, 2012

the shop!

{new acquisitions, creations, and scenes of slow progress, but progress all the same}

So here's the problem: when you're trying to get a functioning woodshop going but you care about aesthetics, the days just aren't long enough. I've got piles of work to do, but the designer in me won't let me start working until things are at least semi in order. Is that new little seven-watt desk lamp I made crucial to me beginning a headboard or two? No. But it absolutely has to be there. Once it was in my head, how can I live without it there on my wall? Impossible! It's the little things that make you feel settled and at home. Details. Oh, how important they are. My chisels happily sitting on their new tool magnet make me feel capable, ready, but I wouldn't feel that way if they were still in a box on the floor. It's ridiculous, I know, but 'tis what it 'tis! 

And on a less dignified note, let me just say that.... 



{p.s. Have you ever seen more crooked doors? Most people tear those things out but, you know.. I put them IN! Bwahahah!}

June 14, 2012

do it yourself

{proof that we are really, really stubborn}

We thought about hiring people to help us. We really did. In fact, I was this close to getting some guys in there that could probably bust out these walls in a day and a half. But, you know, we like to do things the hard way. Nine days of pain, exhaustion and suffering? Pffsh! No big whoop.

So, yes. We built these walls ourselves. Just me and Amelie. If you don't mind me saying so, we freaking rocked it. Sure, it took us a few days longer than we hoped, but I don't think I've ever felt more accomplished. What am I most proud of? Somehow, we managed to get twenty four sheets of drywall onto a cart, into a van, out of the van, into another cart, into an elevator, then into a second elevator, and somehow managed to get it inside our studio. If you have never lifted a sheet of drywall, that shit is heavy. And the crowd of guys who gathers to watch in amazement as two girls miraculously lift this stuff isn't exactly enjoyable, but I suppose I might stare too if the roles were reversed. Who knows!

Then we spent way too long spackling and sanding the cracks and joints {which were imperfect to begin with}but the fun part comes after the patching dries: paint.

And what could be better than going out onto the roof after a long hot day inside, and watching the city spread out six floors beneath you and the sun set over the buildings. It's hard to believe we are lucky enough to see it. I mean really, can it get any more Brooklyn than this?


Definitely go here to see more amazing photographs of our progress, and, yes indeed, our insanity.

June 5, 2012


For three months, it has been insanity. Up, down, up, down. It's been a roller coaster of emotions that changed on an hourly basis and couldn't be predetermined. Happy, pissed off, elated, crushed, hopeful, depressed, and hopeful again. I felt like quitting, I felt like punching something, I felt like eating a gallon of ice cream. We definitely ate a few whole pies. I yelled a few times, cried a few times. I realized that I hated all of humanity and even now I'm still waiting for most of it to redeem itself. But after all of that, we finally did what we were beginning to think was impossible:

We found a studio, in New York. Did I mention that it had to be reasonably priced? Yeah.

BOOM! Hello my beauty. We have been waiting with open -- albeit angry -- arms for quite a while now. And even though it has a few major flaws {yeah, we had to settle a little} I finally feel happy. Amelie and I can at last begin our less-cramped lives. I cannot wait to empty out my pile {I stopped calling it a shop when the floorspace stopped calling itself a floor and started going by the name Mt.Wood Stack}. I want an actual work table. I want an actual wall. I want light, and ventilation, and doors that are wider that twenty eight inches. And now we finally have it.

So let me take a second to be grateful to you. I started off building random furniture in the middle of my Brooklyn apartment, with a handful of tools and only a handful of square-footage. I started for myself, for fun, to experiment, and because I wanted a pretty coffee table to put my feet on. And that grew, miraculously, into something greater. I worked really hard, all the time, and somehow, people slowly started finding me and enjoying what I build as much I do. I know that, quite frankly, what inspired most people is that I did this all with virtually no space. I wasn't established, I didn't have expansive machinery and money to spend on materials and high rent. Instead, I was making stuff with normal tools and dusting off my couch every evening. I was lugging heavy wood up and down the rickety roof-hatch ladder to sand it, and hoping it would fit. I even built a few tables in my kitchen, and we couldn't get in to cook dinner those nights. Hey, people would write to me, maybe I can do that too? Yes, yes indeed you can. And now that I'm moving, into a space that I have been dreaming of for months, I want you all to know that nothing is really changing. Sure, I'll have some room to move around instead of stepping over piles of wood everywhere I turn, but it's still just me, with my trustee chop saw, and a pile of old wood I found in the trash.

So I'm going to raise my fake glass of wine I don't have in my hand, and make a cheesy toast to all the other nonexistent glasses of wine you aren't holding {or maybe you are}. A toast to space or no space, to working hard, to growing bigger, to changing where one should change, and staying the same where it's important that one stay the same.


Now drink up! Tomorrow is a big day of moving really heavy crap onto the sixth floor with an elevator that only goes to floor five. Wish us luck!