Tell us a bit about yourself.
We’re Julia (Jules) Vagelatos and Joshua Blodans of Love Jules. We’re partners in business, life, and crime, and we handcraft leather swag. We have a small Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, garage-based studio. If you’ve never been up here, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Joshua is an accountant-turned-artist, I’m an artist-turned-businesswoman. With our powers combined, we get by. We’re lucky and we know it — clap your hands.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
We live where we do because we love the great outdoors. Every now and then we need to escape the studio, and we’re lucky enough to have some epic mountains at our doorstep.
When we’re not craftin’ with leather, we ski during the winter and hike and bike during the summer. We may not be necessarily “creating” with our hands when we’re away from the workbench, but we try to infuse creativity into all aspects of our lives. We have a puppy named James, and where we go, he goes.
It’s not easy. We work extremely hard to maintain some semblance of a ski bum lifestyle, and it’s totally worth it.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Handcraftin’ the Canadian Dream: A Drifter’s Tale of Art, Coast Mountain Culture and Espionage. Right now, it’s safe to say we’re living our dreams. We live in a picturesque little ski town, surrounded by friends, family, and awe-inspiring mountains (bonus). We are blessed to have the opportunity to create for a living, and we have the perspective to know just how damn lucky we are. We threw in “Espionage” to sell a couple of books.
Where does your inspiration come from?
All over, really. Pleasant sounds, written words, moving pictures…people. And of course, all things vintage. Though we’re perpetually inspired by the natural surroundings of our day to day, we love to break free from our bubble of comfort and road-trip to some far off place where you can’t help but have inspiration thrust upon you, whether you’re looking for it or not.
Right now, we’re finding ourselves drawn to the American Southwest, cowboy culture, harmonicas and banjos, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne.
What does handmade mean to you?
Authenticity. Creativity. Community. Imperfection…and perfection. Keepin’ it real, yo.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
We’ve got the most amazingly talented, supportive and inspirational friends. We draw from what we know, and we’re lucky enough to know some good people who influence what we do, by the way they choose to live their lives. You know who you are. Solid gold.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I guess we can both say we’ve always felt a little “different.” I think that’s why we work so well together.
We like to say what we do is “practical art.” But honestly, we just make things that we think are cool and wouldn’t be able to own any other way. Building a business on this concept has just kind of happened organically. There is no business plan, we just gravitate towards certain things, and it seems to be working out right now. Should this little business of ours eventually fizzle, we’ll always create for ourselves. You can’t stop us.
How would you describe your creative process?
Two heads are better than one. All of a sudden one of us will have an idea (random thought), we’ll bounce it off the other, and we’ll go from there. More often than not our ideas go nowhere, but the process is always fun, despite the end result or lack thereof.
Long dog walks are key.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
We’ve got a couple. Natalia Brilli is an amazing Parisian leather artist. To be a fly on the wall of her studio would be extremely humbling, I’m sure.
Greg Salas owns and operates an amazing Maine-based (formerly L.A.) shoe company named LASCO (The L.A. Shoe Company). Everything that goes into their shoes (including blood, sweat and tears) is sourced stateside, in the good ol’ U.S. of A. They’re a made in America success story in the making, and it would be an honor to have the opportunity to stroll through their production facility.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
That’s a really tough question; we’re kind of hoarders of the handmade. We’ve each got some pretty kickass pairs of cowboy boots. We cherish the crap out of them.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Easy. Head for the hills with a pair skis in search of fresh air, fresh snow, blue skies and good company. Maybe even an après beer or two…and yoga. Perspective is a rut killer.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
It’s hard enough to envision a year down the road, let alone ten. However, if in ten years we’re still creatively paying the rent, in a place that inspires us, surrounded by friends and family, we’d be a-okay with that.
Oh, and world domination.