Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

Dream Weavers: All Roads

The duo behind All Roads: Robert Dougherty and Janelle Pietrzak

After a decade working in fashion on the East Coast (including six years designing, trend-spotting, and fabric sourcing at Anthropologie), Janelle Pietrzak said “so long” to Philly and “hello” to Los Angeles. By her side was beau Robert Dougherty, whom she met while apprenticing on weekends in his vintage-motorcycle repair shop in Philly (she rides a 1971 Honda CB350; he, a bike he built himself with a 1963 frame and a 1971 BSA 650 Lightning motor). The two settled in the El Sereno neighborhood and, earlier this year, launched All Roads, a collection of handmade objects, including Pietrzak’s retro-cool weavings—featuring cloudlike tufting, rad color combos, and a sensibility that drifts from flower child to Native American princess—hung on iron arrows welded by Dougherty. “Basically we moved to California and I really wanted a tapestry to hang on my wall,” says Pietrzak. “Robert built me a loom, and I haven’t stopped since.”

Inspiration

“This is my first year in LA, and each time the seasons change I’m inspired in a whole new way,” says Pietrzak. “For this collection, I was thinking of these two extreme landscapes— the springtime bloom explosion of Los Angeles, and the barren views of the Mojave Desert.”

Materials

“I weave on a simple frame loom that Robert built, with tools he handmade,” Pietrzak says. “I shop for materials at flea markets and thrift stores, because vintage yarns have great faded colors and interesting textures. I’ll also buy yarn from hand-spinners, because the yarn is an art in itself! We frequent hardware stores often, for jute, twine, and rope. For example, I weave a lot with natural cotton rope that I’ve untwisted, which creates this interesting crimp and texture. And sometimes Robert brings me home utility twine or string that he finds on construction jobs, and I weave with that.”

Method

“I settle on a color palette and materials, and just start,” says Pietrzak. “Then halfway through I stop because I’m stuck. Every time! So I’ll consult with Robert and do some sketching, which gives me a clearer picture of what it’s going to be, and then I can complete it. As I’m working (probably due to my fashion background), I look at each piece like a silhouette—is it busty, or maybe more hippy?—and try to balance out the proportions.”

Studio

“Up until now, we’ve been working out of our house,” says Pietrzak. “Robert’s work space in the garage tends to spill out onto the sidewalk—he meets a lot of the neighbors that way! I weave in our bedroom because it’s the biggest room in the house. When I’m weaving I listen to music—loving Tinariwen, Goat, and the new Vampire Weekend albums. We actually just got a studio space in Echo Park, but we haven’t started working in it yet. Robert built a wall down the middle, and I painted my side white from floor to ceiling and hung my inspiration board.”

 

A Peek into the Process

A shot of Pietrzak’s inspiration board in her just-about-ready studio.

 

“California is an endless source of inspiration for me,” says Pietrzak, here drawing it from backyard blooms.

 

Sometimes Pietrzak weaves on the floor of the couple’s home on a smaller “portable” loom (also made by Dougherty).

 

The completed Triangles Weaving.

Check out our other weaver profiles here and here.

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