Diane Zwickel

i. I work as a
Knitter (by hand, no machines!) and knitwear designer using only natural fibres.

ii. I do this creative work because:
I believe that shopping locally and connecting with those who make our clothing is changing how business is done. I especially believe we have to fight the battle against mass-produced cheap throwaway clothing. Its impact on our environment, both during production and when discarded, is becoming alarmingly evident.

iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
A sometimes obsessive attention to detail and almost infinite patience in getting it just right. I have always had a sense of fashion that taps into the left and right brain strengths – the confluence of art and science.

I am a very tactile person – fibre and the feeling of texture is everything for me. I choose wool that has high quality, good value and an amazing colour palette. Then that wool tells me what I can do with it – the weight, the drape, the thickness and the depth of color all factor into what the final design will be, like The Grateful Dead line “the music played the band”. I also think about all the women who have tried on my cowls and scarves; how they adjust the folds of wool, how it settles around their necks, how it sits against their coats.

iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Dealing with the physical demands on my hands and body from hours spent everyday with knitting needles and repetitive movements. Also, perhaps more importantly, not attempting to be all things to all people. It is important to stay focused on what I do and where my art takes me.  I try to stay true to my design mantra of “simple, classic and wearable” with the hope that a wide cross-section of the population will find it appealing.

v. Creative childhood hobbies:
I’ve been designing patterns and sewing since I was 12 and still get lost when I walk into a good fabric store.

vi. Other creators who inspire you:
I’m inspired by fine artists in many mediums, be it pottery, music, literature, painting, photography; I could go on and on.  My father was a commercial artist and jazz lover, so I grew up appreciating anything that was creative and interesting. I couldn’t live a day without some kind of creative art.

vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
Years of working in the retail industry gave me a clear vision for setting up a sustainable line of fashion knitwear and bringing it to the public in a creative and visually appealing way. Sales training taught me how to work with customers in a real way, accepting that a happy shopper is just as important as a happy purchaser.

viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Not staying focused on a narrow vision, getting caught up in all that is possible and then losing your way.  When you make things with your hands, there are few limitations, and that can be a dangerous thing. Always use the finest materials. Otherwise you devalue the time you put into your art.

ix. Some proud career moments:
Every time someone stops to admire or learn more about my work, whether they purchase a piece or not, they make me proud of what I do.

x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you: 
I have chosen to keep my production small, as much as I can hand knit in a year leading up to my shows. I also made the decision to keep my price points lower so more people can share in my love of natural fibres. It is a scalable business if you decide to have others doing your knitting or buy a knitting machine – then you can wholesale your designs and/or attend more shows.

xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
Never stop learning and never stop creating.

xii. If you want to see my work, go to:

Zed Handmade

Arts Whistler Show. Nov 24-25

Shiny Fuzzy Muddy. Dec 8 + 9

​photographer  @shayneshoots
stylist  @maxine.munson
model  @kentuckymoon
location  @vancouver bc



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