May 1, 2013

Ten Questions with Janna Hurtzig

As 2013 marks 10 years of SFM, we have decided to ask our artists ten questions so you can get to know them a little better. 

This first instalment we meet Janna Hurtzig: Astrosatchel and Winterluxe designer, Shiny Fuzzy Muddy founding member, Vancouverite and vegan. 

When did you start your art practice?

I started Astrosatchel in 1998, and officially launched my Winterluxe Recycled Cashmere line in 2009.

What is your creative process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

At the moment, as I am working mostly with recycled cashmere, a lot of inspiration comes from the thrifting process: seeing what's available and figuring out what to do with it all. I'm drawn more and more to tonal colour palates right now, which is very different from my Astrosatchel line, which is known for it's bright and bold contrasting colours. I suppose my design aesthetic has matured a bit over the years, and my Winterluxe line let's me approach colour in a different way, as the colours I can choose from are constantly changing depending on what sweaters I find. 

As far as the starting point for all my work, I consider our weather and lifestyle on the West Coast quite a bit: I try to create practical items that function in the forest and the city, but don't have a 'technical' look to them, and the manufacture needs to be top notch. I've been interested recently in creating patterns in the cashmere, so I have been working on some tile-type graphic patterns, which lend themselves nicely to cushions and blankets... So we can expect to see those at SFM this year.

How has your art practice evolved over the years?

Originally I made bags and wallets only, but I added the recycled cashmere component slowly over time. As there was confusion (my bags are all Vegan and made with new materials, while the cashmere I use  is a recycled animal sourced material) so I decided to split the line. Now I am focusing more on Winterluxe as Astrosatchel has an established customer base and doesn't need as much nurturing right now.

Describe what you make.

This year, I will have lots of cashmere hats, mittens, scarves, cowls, arm warmers, and new cushion covers, as well as my bags and wallets that everyone knows and loves.

How many years have you participated in SFM?

I joined SFM in the early days, so this is probably my 11th show. I love how we have grown as a show over the years, and I'm proud to have contributed to our success as a show and a group.

What's new for this year's SFM?

This year I will have more styles of mittens and arm warmers, new cowl scarves and new styles of home decor cushions, all in recycled cashmere.

What's your favourite thing about the SFM show? 

I think the best part of the show for me is the people: the artist line up is top notch but everyone is really great on a personal level. The show never feels competitive, and it always has a happy, fun vibe. I think that carries over to our customers too: people who shop at the show love supporting us and meeting the artists. I've made so many connections and friendships, both on a personal and business level over the years, with fellow artists and customers. I always look forward to seeing everyone, that makes the show for me.

Who are your favourite artists?

My taste in art has turned more and more geometric, abstract  and colour based, so I love the work of Vancouver locals Melissa Wong, Andy Dixon and Hugh Kearney. 

What are you listening to in the studio?

I listen to lots of music while I'm working, but lately it's been Foxygen, Wampire, Generationals, King Tuff.... My musical preferences definitely change with seasons, but since it's spring I'm enjoying something light and happy and a little bit retro. I really enjoy seeing bands live as well, so I go to  a lot of shows.

What other creative outlets do you enjoy? 

I enjoy cooking a lot, which is good because I'm vegan. I also really enjoy taking photos and posting them on Instagram.... I really love that I can share my day to day life in an artistic way.

Keep in touch with Janna:


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