• Dreamers + Doers: All Roads Design

    Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new. 

    This week we are visiting the LA workshop and textile studio of All Roads Design owned by Janelle Pietrzak and Robert Dougherty, who combine their interdisciplinary skills to create one-of-a-kind weavings, large-scale installations, objects, and furniture. 

    With Janelle's background in the fashion industry background and Robert's in carpentry, building, and welding, the couple has used their combined expertise to turn what was once a homegrown hobby into a full-time business. Read on for our conversation with Janelle about her process, background, and finding inspiration in her surroundings.



    How did this all start? 

    Janelle: For 10 years I worked in the fashion industry — in apparel and accessories design or in fabric sourcing. Essentially, I have been working with textiles for over 15 years: sewing, sourcing, or weaving by hand. I loved my job in the industry most when I was sourcing inspiring vintage textiles and developing them into modern wearable fabrics. I got to visit mills, and I learned how fabrics are constructed…this foundation made it an easy transition to weaving my own fabrics and tapestries. 


    Can you share some specific sources of inspiration? 

    Janelle: My biggest inspiration is the landscape around me. I live very north in LA in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. The weather is hot and dry, and the mountains are covered in grasses that are dead and yellow. I love this golden color, especially when it contrasts with the deep green cyprus trees. 

    I am inspired so much by friends around me that are creating beautiful things. I love going to my friend Joanna William’s textile studio Kneeland Co. for overwhelming color and texture inspiration. She has an incredible reference library of books, textiles, and objects anyone can go sift through for design inspiration. 




    How would a good friend describe your aesthetic? 

    Janelle: Heavily influenced by the 70s, with a focus on natural fibers. Bohemian Americana. 


    Offer some advice to your 20-year-old self. 

    Janelle: Keep doing all those weird, obsessive art projects; they will be good experience for later. 


    Your brand's mantra is “All roads that you travel in life lead you to where you are now.” Can you share a story about a weird past job? 

    Janelle: Yes! After I left New York, I got a terrible job at a uniform company in the suburbs of Philadelphia as a 'designer.' It was a huge culture shock after living and working in New York. They didn’t really need a designer, they just hired me to be a quality control manager in the warehouse. I kept trying to make the Catholic School uniform blazers shorter and cropped, like a cute little boy blazer. The office had that gross office carpet, and it smelled like old coffee stains. The owner had a huge office, like a cliche 1990s executive style and drove some kind of fancy sports car. He walked in every morning and asked one of us ‘girls to make coffee.’ I always refused! I got fired after three months. 


    Walk us through a typical day-in-the-life for you now. 

    Janelle: On work days I wake up around 7 or 8, have iced coffee, and then answer emails and work on quotes for new projects. My studio assistant comes in at 10, then we get to working. I make lunch and we take a break, then work more and usually afternoon the studio starts to get really hot in the afternoon sun and we sweat! We stop work at 5 so I can make it to swim practice by 6. After being hot and cramped over a loom all day, swimming is a great respite. After swim practice I come home and Robert and I have dinner. I am usually in bed around 10. 



    Tell us something we do not know about making a weaving

    Janelle: I usually weave my pieces upside down on the loom. Also, good posture helps a bit, but it does hurt your back! 


    What are five other things you are interested in right now? 

    1. Cold brew coffee! My studio assistant roasts coffee beans at home with her dad — Robert calls her our official coffee broker. 
    2. Swim practice every day helps my anxiety. 
    3. Blue…everything 
    4. Weaving on my new Saori loom: I don’t get much time to use it..but is is really relaxing and fun to use. 
    5. Camping and California trips with Robert. 


    Complete the thought: 
    I like it when…The weather is cool and it rains (rare here in LA)
    I never want to be asked…to copy someone else’s work 
    Success is…having your own hot tub! We hope to have one some day.
    My biggest fear is…going back to work in an office 
    I’d like to be…doing my work full-time for a long time!
    I’m secretly obsessed with…none of my obsessions are a secret
    The most fun I ever had…driving across the country when we moved to LA a couple years ago was both fun and boring! But a really great experience.
    I am looking for…the perfect coffee table, and also some cool hanging Brutalist lamps for the living room 
    I dislike…bees. I am so scared of them 
    My style icon is…Japanese-denim-linen-indigo style 
    I dread…crowded social situations 
    I am good at…connecting with people 
    I am bad at…math skills and small talk 
    I recommend…making your own cold brew every night 
    I couldn’t live without…caffeine: green tea or coffee


    Click here to watch our first Dreamers + Doers video with woodworker Shaun Wallace