Making the Most of It: Small Spaces and Upcycling

I want to introduce you to my friend and guest blogger Andria Alefhi. I first met Andria almost ten years ago when she was a musician living in San Francisco. She has since lived in Washington, and now New York City. I recently caught up with her at a wee wedding in San Francisco, and discovered the creative way she spends her time upcycling objects found around NYC. Impressed by her artistic and entrepreneurial spirit fueled by the joy that comes from repurposing, I am excited to share her story with you. ~ Isabella


Do you wish you had a crafting hobby but you don’t have any talent or don’t have a fancy studio workspace? No problem!

new-york-city-art-work-spaceThe Space

When I moved from Washington seven years ago, I transitioned from a giant 2-bedroom apartment with my own washer-dryer to a 330-square foot Manhattan studio apartment. I stopped playing music, where I didn’t have the space to leave guitars and keyboards set up in my room and transitioned to a 24″x18″ workspace (see left). It’s a kitchen island, so I have 2 shelves plus countertop, maximizing height instead of wasting width and length. I added an old wine box to give additional storage space inside and on top for working or completed projects. I added a few hooks on the side for easy-to-grab tools I use often such as metal shears, scissors and tape.

upcycle-kodak-clockThe Hobby

I, sadly, cannot draw, paint, or sew. But I have always had an eye for repurposing. I love functional art. I started making clocks because I liked reusing containers. Once I realized how easy and quick it is (I can make a tea tin clock in 3 minutes, start to finish) I was motivated to make more and sell them on Etsy. I get my items for clocks from stuff around my house, friends, and even right out of recycling bags, which are clear in NYC so you can see what is inside. I also find great items every time I visit Valencia Community Thrift Store in San Francisco.

What can you make a clock out of? Why, how about a tea or candy tin? A game board – the whole thing, or a piece of it. A vintage postcard or family photo, if you mount it on some backing board. I like corrugated plastic which you can buy at Flax. So carve out a corner of your apartment and make some art!

smiling-BIO-photoAndria Alefhi is an interpreter, aunt, zine editor and clock maker.
She dwells in a small NYC apartment and makes the most of her time
and space to create functional art by repurposing material she finds
around the house and the city. You can find her upcycled goods on Etsy