“I think we love it so much because it is something that reveals itself slowly and challenges us with each step from inspiration to finished piece.”
Dana Mastel grew up around textiles thanks to her mother, who worked as a seamstress. From a young age, she developed a love of sewing machines, fabrics and the stories textiles tell.
“I love that textiles have a memory. They change as they are used and washed and used again. The material gets softer, more absorbent, stained, fibres fray,” said Mastel.
That story continues today with Walden Sweet, a small-run textile company Mastel runs with her partner Wayne Jorgenson. The couple designs, sews and prints all of their pieces in their home studio in Saskatoon.
Walden Sweet’s pieces, which include playful and colourful tea towels, are inspired by pattern and repetition. It’s not uncommon to see leisure activities, including camping and biking, represented in their pieces.
The lighthearted nature of their work belies the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. But it’s precisely the challenging nature of the job and the constant learning that appeals to Mastel.
“It is a process of extremes. Even though it is necessary to plan out every facet in advance you also have to be flexible and able to adapt in the moment as you print,” she said. “I think we love it so much because it is something that reveals itself slowly and challenges us with each step from inspiration to finished piece.”
For Mastel, working with Jorgenson is her ideal work situation. They’ve been creating together for so long it’s impossible to tell who came up with which design. They collaborate on every element from print placement to colour choices and enjoy obsessing over every little detail.
“The experience of creating these pieces really isn’t work at all. It is more of a shared experience and memories gained,” she said.
Both Mastel and Jorgenson are originally from Saskatchewan, but they completed degrees at the Alberta College of Art and Design and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary.
They moved to Vancouver after university. Mastel instantly fell in love with silkscreen printing during a class at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
It wasn’t until they moved back to Saskatchewan in 2010 that Walden Sweet started to share and sell pieces. That decision completed the process for the artisans.
“We love that simple ordinary items like tea towels can start a conversation and create connections between people. And the connections we make with people at shows and the stories people share with us make all of the hard work worth it,” said Mastel.
The Art & Design Store is delighted to carry Walden Sweet. Visit us on the ground floor of Remai Modern or shop for Walden Sweet online here.
Remai Modern is temporarily closed in an effort to help mitigate risks to the public related to the spread of COVID-19.
Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org
102 Spadina Crescent East
Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3