A former Tesla executive, Jessica Switzer Green launched Sonoma-based JG Switzer in 2018 as a wool blanket company, working with "hundreds of fleeces, many of them from small-flock breeds that are considered endangered," she says. Now she has expanded to include a wider array of natural-fiber textiles, bedding, and home goods.
In a process Green likens to "a combination of oil painting and finger painting," she uses a needle-studded hand stamp to apply different fleeces on top of blank wool and then sends it through a 7.5-ton loom with 10,000 needles that punch through the material to fuse the layers into one cohesive fabric.
The result is artfully abstract, biodegradable, sustainable, and entirely unique. "Each fleece is different, so no fabric is ever the same," she says.
Learn how Green's first memory of design relates to sustainability design visionary William McDonough, plus read more of her responses to our Q&A below.
Hometown: Sebastopol, CA
Describe what you make in 140 characters. I design and produce all natural fiber textiles, modern pieces, and material for the design and home goods market.
What's the last thing you designed? Two custom, seven-by-five-foot felted wall covers. One of them is going to be used as a headboard, "painted" in natural wool fibers, for a wine country client.
Do you have a daily creative ritual? Drawing and journaling in bed with my morning cup of coffee before the day hijacks my brain.
How do you procrastinate? Drinking coffee and shopping for art supplies.
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Lampshades. Wool is a natural flame retardant and it screams to be a lampshade. And most of them are so boring, everyone is looking at the base and not the shade which is in charge of casting light.
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? My oil painting master teacher, Charles Becker, is a great and patient teacher. He taught me courage and patience as part of the creative process. I admire Rick Owens for his vision and genius. I have learned much from Darin Geise at Coup d'ETAT. He sees things into creation and thinks big. And Shari Canepa, an unsung design hero for creating our house. I feel like I live in her brain every day.
What skill would you most like to learn? How to play a saxophone.
What is your most treasured possession? A blue blanket given to me by my grandmother when I was 16. I am still trying to create a blanket at JG SWITZER that measures up.
What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Mother nature, growing up in the middle of a National Forest along an emerald river. And sustainability design visionary William McDonough, who taught us that "design is the first signal of human intentions."
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Block printing. Sorry!
Finish this statement: All design should...be mindful of its lifecycle and purpose.
What’s in your dream house? I live in it. It is designed by professor and designer Shari Canepa of Interior Spaces. It is a 4,500-square-foot one bedroom.
Did you pick up any new hobbies or learn a new skill while in quarantine? What was it? My daughter and I painted a large mural—a copy of Botticelli's The Birth of Venus—using a grid system on our donkeys' paddock wall. It was fun and easier than we thought it would be, but our donkeys kept knocking things over and pooping on the wall.
How do you think the pandemic will affect residential design in the future? What about workplace or commercial design? It will make us all even more eager and more fearful to connect in person. I am not sure what that means.
How can the design world be more inclusive? Help people understand how great design in everyday life can bring happiness and joy.
What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry? This isn't just about making pretty things.
The Dwell 24 2020
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