NSO Malibu Interview: Janelle Pietrzak of All Roads
We spoke with Janelle Pietrzak and Robert Dougherty, the people behind All Roads design, to learn a little bit more about their art and the installation pieces they made for our brand new Malibu store!
Interview by Katie Gregory
Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Hi! We are All Roads, Janelle Pietrzak and Robert Dougherty. Janelle does all the weaving, and Robert does all the welding and metal work, and together we do woodworking and product design. I [Janelle] worked in the fashion industry for the past 10 years, from NYC and Philadelphia to LA. In that time I designed apparel and accessories, researched trends in fabric, but mostly sourced and developed fabric worldwide. I recently left my full-time job to focus on All Roads. Now I spend most of my time weaving.
As for Robert, he's been working as a carpenter for about 20 years, and in the past 5 years has added welding. He took a few years off to work as a motorcycle mechanic in Philadelphia. After 4 years back home on the East coast, he is happy to be back in Los Angeles.
How did you get involved with the Malibu store opening?
Someone from the store team noticed the weavings on the internet and contacted us; we were excited to work on this project!
Can you tell us about the pieces you made for the opening?
We liked the idea of keeping the weavings mostly white. The pops of color were inspired by the landscape around our house. Since the summer time is dry now, the hills behind our house are golden wheat and brown. Other bits of color were taken from the incredible sunsets that we see just about every evening. The moons are new to the collection; we have been obsessed with crescent moons and other symbols associated with witchcraft and voodoo.
What are some of the materials you used for your pieces?
The weavings are made from a combination of various yarns and fibers: wool yarn, unspun wool fleece, hemp fiber, cultivated silk fiber, jute and cotton rope. Cotton rope in most of our pieces because it has a great texture and drape. It gets untwisted, looped and sometimes over-dyed. The weavings are then hung from steel rods that are welded with arrows parts, moons or triangle finials. The arrows are then rusted and aged.
Where do you find inspiration?
We saw The Source Family documentary a few months ago, and it was a real inspiration for us. The Source Family was a spiritual group in LA in the '70s. They had a groovy vegetarian restaurant on the Sunset Strip that became a cool hang out for musicians and bohemians. The family members often wore all white and maintained a very disciplined but Utopian life. We have also been obsessed with the crescent moon, and just symbols in general. Symbols for voodoo, witchcraft, religion, etc. We recently both got crescent moon tattoos as a symbol for new beginnings - coincidentally we got tattooed on the summer solstice, which was the same weekend as the Supermoon this past June - so moons have been on our mind.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
There is a lot of inspiring architecture in LA that we both pull inspiration from. The evidence of the hand in the craftsmanship is awesome. Green & Green, Frank Lloyd Wright are obvious, but truly mind blowing when you see their houses in person In regards to textiles - recently the work of outsider artist Judith Scott has been an interesting discovery. She created primitive, yet complex wrappings with yarns and rope, enclosing found objects and talisman inside the cocoon-like wrappings.
Your projects look very labor intensive. What's the longest amount of time you've spent working on a single project?
Probably around one week, however, we have some bigger commissions coming up that are going to take much longer.
Did you have a Malibu Barbie when you were younger? What about Malibu Ken?
I never had Malibu Barbie; I had Peaches and Cream.
East coast or West coast?! Reason for your answer?
WEST COAST all day long!!!!!!! We are both from the East coast, but have completely fallen for the West coast life. The weather is pretty much always amazing. The sunshine, the colors of nature. The landscapes are beautiful and vary so quickly - we love the desert, the mountains and the coast equally - and we can visit any of these places in 2 hours or less. Camping is great here. The people we have met here are so inspirational and motivating to our own creativity and projects. There is a lot of great style everywhere you go.
"California Love" or "California Dreamin'"?