A B O U T A R I E L E


I’m a builder, a fixer, and a do-it-myselfer. My favorite things in life are big tools, old wood, good pasta, and finding great materials in a dumpster.


I grew up in California, and blindly moved to New York seven years ago when I was accepted into art school for sculpture. I instantly fell in love with the grungy part of Brooklyn, and within a month, we had moved into Bedstuy. I have lived in the same apartment for five years now, which has given me plenty of time to slowly "fix" a few things around the house: de-carpet stairways, tile in kitchen... you name it!




I studied as a sculptor, but have always had a propensity for making sculptures that fit into houses. I eventually gave in to my desire {why fight it?} and decided to build reclaimed furniture instead. It felt great to start making things that people needed, wanted, and could use in their daily lives. I finally felt... useful!


photograph by the amazing Lianna Tarantin


I began to build furniture, just small things at first, tabletops and then some cutting boards. For six months I worked in a 100 square foot space fit right in between the living room and the kitchen -- to the occasional frustration of my very patient boyfriend who would get splinters stuck in his socks and find sawdust tracked into the bedroom. This small space suited me just fine for a while, and it felt great to be doing something unusual in an unusual space, overcoming spacial obstacles and pushing on no matter what. This little semi-workshop saw the beginning of my life as a furniture builder, and it served me well!
 

But eventually the time came when I realized I needed a real studio. I was slowly beginning to get more commissions, and the space was shrinking around me and everything that I built. My friend Amelie of Left Field Cards and myself then began our grueling three-month hunt for a suitable space that we could both share. After a few heartbreaking rejections and truck loads of frustration, we found it:

We spent three weeks building walls and putting in old doors that would separate my space from Amelie's -- since, you know, I produce a lot of dust. The two of us put our do-it-yourself-attitudes to the test, stubbornly framing the walls and sheet-rocking the entire space all by ourselves. We felt so accomplished! And exhausted. 

The new space is a dream!


 
Thanks for stopping by!

Ariele



93 comments:

  1. I love your work. I am in my fifties and have been rediscorvering, reclaiming reinventing objects and clothing since I was a little girl.
    Keep it up!

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  2. Elaine MaloneyApril 28, 2011

    Congratulations on signing that lease! Full steam ahead now, for sure. The tables are truly amazing pieces of art. Gorgeous! I look forward to seeing them beneath my plate of pasta!

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  3. i love what you do with wood! from what i've read on your blog it sounds like you may be in my 'hood: i live in berkeley. i hope you're nearby so i can admire your space and food when you're done.

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  4. Hello, I'm back to see how the restaurant is coming along. I think original plans were to open in June? Is it looking more like August now? Want to see if I can carve out some time to go see it and enjoy the environs and food.

    Your work so far is astounding!
    Linda

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  5. AnonymousJune 23, 2011

    God bless the internet. There's so much stuff to discover. I am sitting on a rainy holiday in the south of Germany wondering about what to do with my apartment and ended up on your wonderful page. Amazing what you have done with wood in your restaurant project. I have a brother living in California so perhaps one day I'll come and eat there.
    Christian

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  6. AnonymousJuly 27, 2011

    you work is amazing! just had to ask though, art school in brooklyn living in bed-stuy? sounds like pratt! i go there right now for interior design and am also originally from california.

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  7. HA! You guessed it! Pratt it was. Graduated a few years back. Though I went to school for sculpture. Do you like Pratt/Brooklyn? I LOVE good ol' BK. What year are you?

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  8. i'm going to be my third year there now in a few weeks! and yes, i do like it most of the time however tiresome it may be. did you like it there?

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  9. You are incredibly talented!!!! I love your work and your blog.

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  10. Loooooove your house!!!! every item could be mine!!!!! we have the same way of life!!!! ;))

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  11. Ariele, you've got some great projects on here and some killer style. Really enjoyed digging through your blog.

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  12. Can I ask what's going on with your studio wall? I love the way it looks, but I can't tell what I'm looking at. Wood shavings?

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  13. Kris ~ yes, you can ask. I did a post about how I made that wall, because so many people were asking about it! You can see it here:

    http://brooklyntowest.blogspot.com/2011/12/wall.html

    Happy that you like it!

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  14. Very Proud of you Ariele! Your work is amazing! Hopefully I'll see you soon in NYC! xo Meg :)

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  15. I am completely fascinated with your entire story! My interest was sparked last night from the most amazing visit to Il Vecchio's Family Dinner. What a beautiful job you girls did on the best addition by far to our wonderful little pacific grove neighborhood! After this journey you have taken me on through your blogs it adds that much more characteristic and charm to my favorite new spot! Thank you! Good luck to both of you girls!

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    1. It's so nice to hear from someone who has eaten there in person! I am astoundingly happy that you love it so much, I wish I was closer so that I could enjoy it everyday. I will visit again in a while, maybe I'll see you there. Thanks again!

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  16. WOW ariel! I took a art class w you bak in MHS. :D I just went to IIvecchino yesterday and really loved the interior. I was looking at pictures on facebook, and came across your name. :D very lovely! <3

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  17. The same girl who is fascinated is now here for valentines day! Il vecchio is the only place to bring old world hospitality and romanticism! Congrats on all u have accomplished! Xoxo a grateful Monterey girl :-)

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  18. Your work is beautiful! You are beautiful! Oh I'm just gonna come out and ask...are you single? If so I have a wonderful friend! :)

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    1. Hah! Why thank you Jessie. That is super wonderful to hear and slightly hilarious just cause I'm not use to it. Alas, I am not single! I have a very lovely long term boyfriend. But thanks for asking! And again: HAH!

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  19. Very cool.... Follow your dreams forever...they may lead you to New Zealand :)

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  20. You are incredibly inspiring!!

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  21. I am blown away! Amazing work and an amazing story!

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  22. How delightful to find someone not just 'tolerating' Bed Stuy but making it their home! I've been living in the area for several years now and find it's still unfairly perceived as, to use a kinder term than I've heard, 'craphole'. So many of my neighbors share your ethic of working with found materials and what's at hand to wonderful results: community gardens, self-repaired apartments, personal stores.

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  23. Just found you via Design Sponge, and I have to admit to forming a little bit of a girl crush. your work and attitude is amazing! I love what you are doing :-)You are my new favourite designer-maker. You are truly inspirational.

    Elizabeth
    x

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  24. Absolutely awesome. I love your stuff, and your story. And by the way, nobody can fix a car!

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  25. L.O.V.E your work !! I'm gonna make a link of your blog on mine ! Congrats from Paris !

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  26. Hi!

    Just discovered your blog today and am really smitten with your work. Congrats on all the well-deserved press you are getting! I love seeing how your studio butts up against the living spaces and how, foot splinters and all, you make it work. As someone who has taken a decade-long hiatus from "making stuff", its a great reminder that one can create anywhere (and it helps if you have a wall covered artfully in eucalyptus leaves!). Time to get my hands dirty again. Thanks for the inspiration!
    -Michelle

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  27. i like your work. i'm a woodworker in north carolina. please check out my blog mabelstudios.tumblr.com

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  28. Ariel,

    Your blog is amazing and your work is SO inspiring! My woodworking skills are adequate but definitely leave much to be learned. I love making things from wood and I am wondering, how did you go about teaching yourself?

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  29. Also, let's talk boots. What kind do you wear?

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    1. Thanks Chelsea! I most often wear my falling-apart old leather army boots, they do have gaping terrible holes in them as many of you have awesomely pointed out -- I'm not homeless, I swear, I just like my old boots! But other than that, I've some great leather ones from Red Wing, in the guys section. But they're so big they make me look a little like a cartoon. But I recommend!

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  30. Beautiful work! My husband and I are renovating an old log cabin and I'm bookmarking your shop for the future. I'm positive something you've made will fit into our place just perfectly when we get that far along... Wishing you the best!

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  31. I love your photos! May I ask what type of camera you use? They look like DSLR quality and the lighting is always great!

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  32. You are such an inspiration!

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  33. I Just enjoyed the nice plug u got in the Sunday Chicago Tribune Lifestyles section today!

    I'm with u as in eating of the floor[boards]!

    And may the grain be with u......

    jimster

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  34. So inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

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  35. Not only have I enjoyed your beautiful and inspiring creations, I also noticed the ring on the your left middle finger. Can you share where you found it. I just LOVE it!
    `Yvonne

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  36. Too Divine....these days everytime I come across a maker/artist I like they always seem to live in Brooklyn......I think it's high time I saved for a visit.

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  37. Also........did you design your wall where the tools hang? It's sooo beautiful, is it Eucalyptus Leaves?

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  38. Your work is incredible. I too am curious about how you made the wall in your studio. It is fabulous!

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  39. I love seeing the work of recycled or reclaimed wood. The wood is always unique reflecting the statis that it came from. Most of the time its free. I have been looking at a web site "recycled, upcycled, and freecycled wood showing so many wonderful things you can build with pallets etc. I would love to build a a hay barn out of pallets but wonder if a permit would be given. Your work is truly beautiful! I love the way you pull it all together.

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  40. I loved the story! Keep up the good work Re-Purposing Re-Useing ReClaiming and Re-Cycling!
    I just shared your blog on our facebook community!

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  41. Hi Ariel, I love it when I find someone whose head works like mine! My son thinks I am totally insane that I prefer to shop at the scrap metal yard than at the Mall! ;o) You don't say much in your blog about what tools you use. I would be interested ...

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  42. AnonymousMay 25, 2012

    Do you kiln dry the reclaimed wood?

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  43. Very interesting. I have recently begun to amass my pallet empire to be disassembled and turned into something else: Adirondack-style chairs, computer desks, patio tables, benches, etc. Next up is a tiki island out by his pool and a unique headboard for my wife. Love the images. In progress pictures are the best! Enjoy and have fun!

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  44. very nice art!! Im a wood working too here in Chile, now im working whith wood, wuater and fire for new geometries!
    i like your materials
    the reutilizable wood its better because you can find diferent kinds of fiber, colours and you destroy the economical cicle of industry!

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  45. Your work is truly incredible! You have inspired me to put together my own blog of projects past and present. Check out my most recent pallet reclamation project here

    http://stackeddesign.blogspot.ca/2012/07/pallet-bartable.html

    Keep up the fantastic work.

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    1. That pallet bar you built is incredible! I love that you built the stools too, they are absolutely magnificent. MORE MORE!

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  46. You have a wonderful touch. Your sculpting/design/carpentry/aesthetic are all unique. I'm reminded of Louise Nevelson combined w/ Franz Kline combined w/ raw nature. It's exiting

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  47. I love you work... and your story...so inspiring :)

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  48. Hi Ariele! I just came across your blog and I am in awe! Your work is raw beauty, so very admirable and just incredible! I aspire to be a metal sculptor, wood worker, do-it-myself fixer-upper and I am so inspired by your story and craft. Do you have any advise for a young girl to begin learning and gain skills? How did you start fixing things and working with wood? Do you have any books or resources that you recommend? Thank you and keep on with all that inspires you. Cheers!

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  49. Very beautiful. What is the spirally pattern on the wall behind your tools in the photo above?

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    1. dried eucalyptus leaves, I believe.

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    2. Dried Eucalyptus leaves... I believe

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  50. Hi there, I also found you via design sponge and can't stop returning to your web site and looking at the beautiful things you create. One thing I keep wondering about though is: how do you clean the lathe? We pulled out a lot from our walls during a renovation years ago and used it as fire wood (which I now regret) - but they were covered in (plaster) dust! Do you just wash them/hose them down with water or even sand-blast them?
    Quite curious! Thank you and keep up the fantastic work.

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  51. Design sponge for me too. Like many other commenters, I find your blog & studio incredibly inspiring. I used to build a lot of stuff but haven't in a while - was even thinking about selling my tools and am suddenly thankful I didn't. You said something about dudes at Home Depot in another post, and that brought back awesome memories...of an employee telling me not to load my car myself, because I'd be unable to have babies. Or the time a friend & I were loading melamine into a van (for a concrete mold), and a man strode towards us out of nowhere with his tape measure extended several feet. To help, I guess.

    Also, beautiful work. I wish I could commission a table.

    Sarah

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  52. Ariele, beautiful site, beautiful work!
    It seems your "contact" page is unavailable to me for some reason. How can i contact you regarding a pricing request for a potential commission for two large communal dining tables for a restaurant in the East Village? My email is MollyJHammond@gmail.com. Please email me at your earliest convenience. ( We would love to propose some of your work to our client, but first would like to have a better handle on pricing, lead times, etc ) Please let me know - thanks in advance!

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    1. Molly, thank you for pointing that out! It was indeed broken and now it's fixed. I would love to discuss this further with you. My email is aalasko@yahoo.com. Thank you for getting in touch!

      Ariele

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  53. Ariele,

    Beautiful work. It seems that your contact page is unavailable to me for some reason. How can i contact you regarding a pricing request for a potential commission of two large communal dining tables for a restaurant in the East Village? ( We would love to propose your pieces to our client but first would like a better handle on your pricing, lead times, etc) My email is MollyJHammond@Gmail.com Please let me know at your earliest convenience - thanks in advance!
    -Molly

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  54. Beautiful works. I like your all ideas . Thanks for sharing.

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  55. WOW! you've just entered my list of HEROES. A woman with powertools making amazing reclaimed objects. LEGEND! I wish I can make things like you one day for my future homes.

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  56. I have been following your work for a year or so now, and I can't get enough of it! I love seeing your daily progress on Instagram. So much so, I was tempted to try my hand at a very simple wall hanging in your style. The amount of time and frustration require to roughly finish it makes me even that much more impressed with your work! I'd love to purchase something of yours one day. Keep on keeping on Ariele!

    http://joeycarty.tumblr.com/post/36325791444/my-first-wall-hanging

    Joey

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  57. H Ariele, I'm the US correspondent for the french magazine MILK. We are desperately looking to contact you to make an interview about you. I emailed you already... Where can I reach you? Thanks, Samantha

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  58. AMAZING AMAZING WORK! wow! absolutely wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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  59. found your blog in a sleepless night - you really made my day! inspiring attitude - thx!

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  60. Hey Ariele, Loving your photos on Instagram - didn't know that you had a blog. Great to read the stories behind the images. That chair you reupholstered is wonderful. all the best,
    Ingrid

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  61. you are seriously talented i really like your work

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  62. Wow! I just stumbled on here from Apartment Therapy and I am amazed. You are so talented and inspiring. I hope to one day be able to commission you to bring your spirit and art into my home!

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  63. Ariele, your work is really incredible, both artistically and in its quality. You are an inspiration for me, as I have recently found my interests piqued by woodworking. While I want badly to start working with my hands, I feel like I don't know where to start since my art is mostly digitally based. I know you said you started out with smaller projects, but I don't even think I am capable of that! How did you begin to learn the skills you have now and how would you suggest someone like myself (starting at zero) start that process? Did you take courses, teach yourself? Thanks so much for making it feel attainable, and keep it up, girl, you are so talented.

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  64. Awesome! Great work that inspire me to create my own stuffs. Congratulations and sucess in you carrer!

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  65. I am in awe!! I just shared your work w my husband and both agree that we would love your work all over our home!!

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  66. Love you work, very inspirational! Keep on rocking it.

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  67. Jolielaide84March 03, 2013

    Absolutely love your work! I'm curious what is the name of that kind of art with wood. I think my grandfather did the same kind of art, luckily I still have some of his works.

    Hope to save up some money for one of yours! Thanks for your time!!

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  68. Hey, I love what you are doing! I don't even know how I got here, but I am supposed to be working..... Anyhow, great stuff, and I want to share what I do, in woodworking.... www.tedlott.com

    -Ted

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  69. You are amazing and inspiring and I am in LOVE with your work and your style! I have been drooling over your blog for the last hour! Thank you so much for sharing your talent, I want to be just like you when I "grow up"!!!! Truly you are my hero! I just started building thinks as a hobby and I have loved it, I really have no idea what I am doing but I love learning when I can find the time to do it! Congrats on your success and finding and doing what you love!

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  70. jaw on ground. amazing.

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  71. I love your work!!!
    Hi from Chile!!

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  72. Hello Ariele,
    Last year I got quite ill out of the blue and was hospitalized for a long time. I promised myself that if I got healthy again I was going to do life right, and one of the things I was going to pursue was woodworking. I stumbled across your blog, and you talent and gumption were the final push to get me to sign up for a class. I am so impressed with your aesthetic, you really have an eye for making beautiful, natural spaces.
    Now I am slowly beginning to sell pieces, and still look to your success to push myself to keep going.
    Thank you, keep doing what your doing, because I think you are doing it right.
    Marni

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  73. Hey!

    I'm Jools of J&V - Finest Industrial Vintage Furniture (www.jandv.eu) and love what you are doing since a couple of month when I came across your blog. But the spoons you recently did are the best! I really love them. My daughter used to do one in the Waldorf school, it is quite nice as well - but yours are much better...
    Thats why I decided just to say hello from Berlin, keep on with your great stuff. I hope you don't mind if I post your spoons on our blog http://berlinbitsandbobs.tumblr.com/.
    Best - Jools

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  74. Just discovered your blog and love your creations. You really have talent.
    I'll be happy to present your job on my blog if that's ok with you.
    Isabelle

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  75. I found your blog through a lovely spoon photo on Pinterest, and wanted to let you know that I just love, love your work. Being a creative, when I came to your blog it felt like "home" in a way. I just love wood and to see someone that works hard with passion for what they love to do and to make wonderful things. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. Totally in loooooove with your wooden spoons!! Do you sell them?

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  76. AnonymousJuly 11, 2013

    I just L O V E your work!!!!! Its simplicity is what makes it so beautiful. I an Architect by profession, but very much interested in smaller things and details....hoping to have my own line of artistic furniture for home and offices, somewhere in near future....your work is very in-springing....
    Keep up the good work.

    Devanshi VD

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  77. Hi there im so in love with your works. I'm a first year student in an art college. Supposedly majorin in graphic design. I have always wanted to like learn a course that is very hands on/craftsmanship. But my school does not offer it. Instead offers fashion,graphic and product design. I was wondering out of those 3 courses which should I pursue to have a job like you?

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  78. Amazing! With Love from Russia!

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  79. Hey.
    I am from Belarus, a small country about Russia. Sorry, bad writing in English.
    You are popular in Russian LiveJournal. There I found your blog.
    I did woodcarving long, so I know how difficult it is. But fascinating. Thanks for the interesting findings. Eg spoons we cut differently. At first cut path. Then cut out recess. But I'll try to do it with you.
    Have a nice day!

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  80. your work is a inspiration to us all. huggs all the way from Sweden

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Thank you dearly for your comments! They always make my day.