Let's meet Diane Zwickel of zed handmade, living and working in South Surrey.
When did you start your art practice?
My love of textiles began when I took my first sewing lesson at the age of 12 and started making all my clothes. By 23 I had taught myself to knit. I have spent my entire adult life outfitting my children, my homes and myself in handmade creations. I worked in fashion retail for years, and it inspired me to pull bits and pieces from what I saw in ready to wear to make my creations my own.
What is your creative process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I LOVE fashion. I pore over the New York Times reports from the fashion weeks in Paris and NY, always check out Bill Cunningham’s weekly report of fashion on the street, and follow all the blogs I can fit in. Then I walk along the beach or work in my garden, and all the ideas are culled into a West Coast style with tons of texture, subdued color and natural fibers.
How has your art practice evolved over the years?
With age comes freedom, for me, and I have learned that breaking the rules inspires growth. I love experimenting with innovative materials; frustrated when I can’t find the big fat soft rope I yearn to knit with, but happy when a stitch combination works itself into a great new design. I am less interested in what is in style for the moment and more interested in what I like. It all comes around again at some point!
4- Describe what you will be bringing to SFM this year. (Medium, Materials)
All the zed scarves and cowls are made with 100% pure wool or alpaca. I design and hand knit all my products, and I like to think they stand out as unique in the marketplace. Colors are for the most part muted, organic and versatile.
How many years have you participated in SFM?
This is my first year as a vendor, and I am so excited! I have loved visiting SFM as a consumer for years, because everything is such high quality and the artists are great people to meet and talk with.
What's new for this year at SFM?
This year I have introduced a burst of strong color in the AUDAZ line, knit with fair trade 100% merino wool from a woman’s cooperative in Uruguay. It is a stretch for me as I seldom wear these kinds of colours, but I love the finished product – perhaps it will take me in a new direction!
What's your favourite thing about the SFM show?
There are so many “craft” events in Vancouver, and yet SFM stands out as a gem – every artist producing high quality, unique goods, displayed in such an amazing old building. Wonderful.
Martha Sturdy was the first Vancouver artist I fell in love with, back in the late 80’s. Now the city is a beehive of talented artists and artisans too numerous to mention. I try to hit Culture Crawl every year to find at least two artists I haven’t seen before. Other people’s talents and creations always inspire me.
What are you listening to in your studio?
My ADD is full swing with my music and all 18,000 songs in my iTunes! I love CBC and NPR, and have a dozen or so podcasts I follow regularly; everything from Tiny Desk Concerts and KEXP Song of the Day to This American Life and Wiretap.
What other creative outlets do you enjoy?
I love discovering new and upcoming bands and musicians, and when I am not knitting, my husband and I do concerts. Sometimes two per week, driving in from South Surrey! We need a pied a terre for those nights…. I also
love to cook, and I am a ferocious gardener.