Spinning a Berlin Tale with Sandra Juto
|Photo: Johan Pergenius.|
Scroll through any online list of top Berlin Instagrammers and one name will keep popping up, Sandra Juto.
A Swedish designer who calls Berlin her home, Sandra Juto is in her own right a successful businesswoman and talented designer. She describes herself on her blog as a “blogger, graphic designer, online shop owner, artist, illustrator, photographer and crocheter.” Seriously there is nothing this woman cannot do!
My interest in Sandra grew even more when I saw her beautiful collection online. She sells her illustrated prints as well as cute crotched items like the adorable “Buttcrack Characters” and “Wrist Worms”, woven hand warmers that even a hardened fashionista would warm up to.
I interviewed Sandra for BerlinLogs because I think it’s high time the people of Berlin get to know one of the talented artists that live amongst them.
Shoshi Khaddour: What started the Sandra Juto brand?
Sandra Juto: Back in the days when I was studying at design university I decided to change my blog's name to my own name (Sandra Juto) to be a bit more personal. Later on when I started my online shop to sell illustration prints, soft toys and my handmade Wrist Worms (hand warmers) I decided to keep it that way since my name is, as far as I know, a unique name.
S.K: How do you find inspiration for your creations?
S.J: My biggest source of inspiration is to bring my camera out for a walk and see what I find through it, the camera opens up my eyes in a different way. Also, I hang out with a lot of great people who feed me with amazing stories.
S.K: What your most popular product?
S.J: The Wrist Worms without doubt. The past few years they've taken up most of my work time, now I plan to give them a little bit less space so I can focus more on illustration, art, photography and graphic design again.
S.K: What kind of feedback do you get about your products?
S.J: The feedback is so amazing, people sometimes send me pictures of their homes with my illustrations on their walls - that's such a great compliment. The Wrist Worms seem to be addictive, people who once bought a pair often come back for more and they are often given as gifts.
|Sandra Juto in studio. Photo: Johan Pergenius.|
S.K: Walk us through the steps of making the Wrist Worms...
S.J: It starts with a... walk to the yarn store, oh the excitement I always feel when I carry a bag full of yarn. Then I sit down somewhere and start crochet, sometimes talking to a friend at a café while working, on the subway, in a park, but mostly in my studio in front of a film or tv series. What I love about crochet is that there are no machines for the technique. After a couple of hours when a pair is finished I put my label on it, put them in a nice paper bag with a Wrist Worms sticker to seal the bag - to protect them from dust etc before they are shipped and also to look nice for the customer.
S.K: How important to you is it that all aspects of your creations are controlled by you alone?
S.J: I would say it is very important. I prefer to work alone (if I'm around people I get nothing done) and be in charge of the whole process.
S.K: What drew you to Berlin?
S.J: Actually it was my passion for walking, the city never ends before my legs say stop. I love to walk around in big cities on busy streets to see what's around the next corner.
S.K: Your prints are all very unconventional, how important is it that your brand be unique and distinguishable from others?
S.J: For me it's an important thing, I see it as an extension of my personality (everyone's personality is unique as we know) and hope to show some of it through my work.
S.K: How have things changed for you since reaching so many social media followers?
S.J: Instagram is a great tool for getting to know what people like more and what they like less, the feedback is instant and it's fun to connect with my followers, which is a thing I wish I had more time for. Another thing is that many companies get in contact with me asking for advertising, but so far I've said no.
S.K: You're on many lists of top Berlin artist Instagram accounts, how do you feel about being on these lists and do you see yourself as one of the top artists in Berlin?
S.J: I didn't know that, and I don't see myself as one of the top artists in Berlin. It must be based on the number of my Instagram following, I guess.
S.K: What's your favourite Berlin hotspot, daytime, nighttime…
S.J: In the morning I love go out for coffee with my husband and/or friends (though most of them think it's loco to get up as early as I do). I have a long list of places I love to go to; Happy Baristas, Silo, 19grams, Café Neun to name a few. These days I prefer to spend my time at home together with friends at night, to cook for them and talk about whatever comes to mind. Sometimes we do end up at Berghain, where I always find myself walking around talking to friends, coming home with muscle pain from all the walking instead of dancing.
Sandra’s wonderful creations are for sale on her blog where you can also find her quirky take on life in Berlin.
Shots from Sandra’s Instagram.
By Shoshi Khaddour
Damascus born, London raised, Berlin based. Shoshi is a journalist with a focus on a range of social and political issues. A former broadcast journalist, her interests include food fairs, films, current affairs and space.