Zed Handmade

Zed Handmade

Diane Zwickel

Medium: Fibre Arts
Location: Vancouver, BC
Member since: 2020

A resident of South Surrey, Diane was born and raised in Winnipeg, the daughter of a commercial artist. Watching her father turn a pencil line into a three-dimensional drawing inspired her to visualize a flat piece of fabric or a strand of yarn morphing into fashion. She learned that fine materials are worth the investment, and to this day appreciates the tactile beauty and colours of natural fibers. In 2012, Diane decided to combine her love of fashion and fiber with her business and retail skills, and “zed handmade” was born. Her vision was to design and hand knit a line of pure wool and alpaca scarves and cowls, bringing them to the marketplace, early in the buy local movement. The zed brand has become a strong statement of her design belief ─ simple is powerful. Diane begins each year planning for the upcoming season, the process of adding a new design taking up the first two to three months. She then spends the entire year hand-knitting each piece of all current designs to produce enough for the winter marketplace.

All zed pieces are hand knit with 100% natural fibres; currently the zed line includes Peruvian highland wool known for it’s strength and softness, Peruvian alpaca which is incredibly soft and warm, and a Bolivian 40% alpaca / 60% merino blend, super soft and weighty. Many colours are undyed, which makes them even more environmentally friendly.

Diane’s felt vessels embrace love of texture and simplicity of design. Using natural fibers she creates surfaces composed of subtle colours, textural elements, and organic feel. The “fulling” process starts with knitting a defined shape. Next, she agitates it by hand in very hot water, using her Grandma's old glass washboard and a lot of elbow grease. Then into an ice-cold bath, then back into the hot bath. Back and forth, again and again. Over time, as only pure wool will do, it shrinks and matts into felt. Once the piece is the desired size, she hand-shapes it over a form to dry. At this point the piece may be complete, or it may beg for some adornment. Each vessel is one-of-a-kind, surprisingly useful on a nightstand for eyeglasses or by the door for keys, but also a stunning art piece when alone and empty.

“Framed” is a new collection of whimsical subjects and studies in colour, all created by hand with knitting needles. Fibers include Japanese cotton, fiqué, sisal, hemp, raw silk and mohair-wrapped silk. What they all have in common is texture, shape and flow. Each work is one of a kind, framed and ready to be hung.

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