To someone who has art in their blood, “What inspired you to start this brand?” can be a perplexing question.
“I didn’t see any other way of living,” says Kristy Turney matter-of-factly. Yes, it wasn’t until 2014 that she started her own decor and jewellery label, Scandinavia Wolf Designs, but doing so was almost inevitable: from a childhood in the Kootenays spent building forts out of any sticks and stones she could find to stints in fashion school and jobs in interior design, painting all the while, Kristy has an innate creativity that’s impossible to untangle from her personality. When she’s not in a woodworking class, she’s at the pottery studio, or at her easel: wherever the muse takes her.
Kristy and Jeff Turney of Scandinavia Wolf Designs outside their home studio in Squamish, B.C. Photo by Kyoko Fierro.
For our Maker of the Year, pieces come together less by plan and more by feel. Kristy gathers her materials—wood, ceramics, metal and stone, mainly sourced from the West Coast wilderness and local suppliers—and lets the inspiration flow through her. “I might have a concept in mind, but I just let the energies of the natural materials happen,” she says. “It’s a meditative state. I just get in the zone and the materials kind of make it happen.”
Whatever magic is taking place in Kristy’s studio sessions, it’s working. The resulting designs are gorgeous, mixed-media using natural materials with a minimalistic approach. The rough-hewn Unity wall hanger pairs a hand-shaped double-glazed clay ring with a sleek, supple maple or cherrywood mount; the Asteroidea hook nestles a cherrywood bead in a spiky sculpted clay surround that looks like a sea anemone starburst; smooth reclaimed driftwood hangs from cotton ropes, now a clever, beachy spot to drape your blanket.
The Unity wall hanger, the Ballin hook and Asteroidea (right to left) are made of clay and locally sourced cherrywood; the Aulopora sculpture (left) is made of hand-sculpted clay and locally foraged wood twigs.
Husband Jeff is a partner in the business, too, recently leaving his sales job to help full time both with the admin side of things and with contributing a skill for detailed woodwork finishing that surprised them both. (In addition to their studio, the two run a boutique in Squamish, also called Scandinavia Wolf Designs, that stocks Kristy’s pieces, along with home decor and other locally designed items.) When Kristy dreams up a new idea—say, a series of jacket hooks that look like perfectly polished maple eggs—the two will head out into the woods to find the perfect piece to make the vision into a reality. “She’s an inventor,” says Jeff. “She does things that are off the beaten path. And I pull her a little toward the ‘function-over-form’ camp. We’ve got that yin-and-yang balance.”