When I heard of a girl with the same name as me FROM PHILADELPHIA…i got excited. Then I saw her work. Janelle Pietrzak is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Whimsical & tough with bright red lipstick and the girliest giggle, she straddles the line of femininity and strength in my favorite way possible. Meet our newest workaholic.
What do you do?
I hand weave on a basic frame loom. I weave textural wall hangings. I also make home goods and jewelry. My boyfriend Robert and I collaborate on various projects, like furniture and things for living. Sometimes we work on large installations together. In between all that, I also do freelance fabric & textile sourcing for apparel and accessories companies.
How did you get to where you are now?
My current situation is an accumulation of 10 years working in the fashion industry and fabric sourcing. Since college I have always had side projects, like a t-shirt line, or a jewelry line. Last year I think my hobby organically became a business and I realized it was something I could do full time. At the start of 2013 I set goals for myself, it really helped to keep me focused on where I wanted to be and what I wanted to achieve.
What made you turn to this direction?
It has always been my goal to work for myself, to have my own business. When I was thinking about making All Roads full time, I got a few really big commissions that was a good jump start to leave my desk job.
Was this always your dream job?
It has always been my dream to make up my own job. I have always made things with my hands, and been obsessed with creating. I never really imagined that I could doing what I am doing full time. I am still in awe of what I spend my days doing and I feel really lucky and appreciative that I made this into my livelihood. I have worked in textile for 10 years, and truly love all aspects – from hand creating textiles, collecting beautiful vintage textiles from all over the world and sewing a dress out a simple yet luxurious linen canvas.
How much of the week is work, how much is play?
Lately my days run into each other and I work every single day. I have a bunch of deadlines all at the same time, so it is a hectic time. I don’t really have any play time right now. I hope to have a break soon!
How do you find your inspiration and do you find it easy to stay organized?
I find a lot of inspiration in nature. We recently moved to the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. It is so beautiful and I can’t wait to explore and find some good hikes. I also look at fashion and interior design for material and color inspiration. Textiles are obviously linked to fashion and interiors, so it is easy to find inspiration there.
I am pretty good at staying organized. I keep my studio pretty clean. If I am organized then my brain has room to think and be creative. I love to keep a large inspiration board of images and materials to look at. It is totally a habit learned from working in the fashion industry.
How important is your work, and do you feel it defines you?
My work is extremely important, not just creating, but maintaining and growing my business as well. I do feel it defines me right now. I just moved my studio into my home, and I am a little worried about a work/life balance.
What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?
This past year my work has been seen on the runway in New York Fashion Week and has been installed in a resort in Aruba. I feel proud and grateful that I have had some amazing opportunities. I would love to do large scale weavings. I have ideas for a jewelry collection and I want to do home textiles as well.
How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.
I love and appreciate fashion, but personally I hate figuring out what to wear. I dress for comfort and ease in the studio and usually in layers. I want to finally get some white overalls and make them my uniform. Bright red lipstick is my answer to dressing up.
Do you listen to music during your work day?
Right now my favorite things to listen to are podcasts, I love The Moth and Throwing Shade.
What’s something someone may not know about you?
I used to work at uniform manufacturer, it was one of the most terribly dull jobs I ever had. I kept trying to make the catholic girl’s blazers shrunken and more cute. I was fired after 3 months.
Anything else you would like to say or for us to know?
Thank you for visiting my studio, you guys were a blast!
— Jenelle Campbell