Zuzanna Hovancova and Marie Konecna would never have started Sick Chick if they hadn’t moved to Revelstoke.
The business partners, artist and best friends have been in Revelstoke three years, even though they initially planned to spend only one winter, they started creating laser cut, hand designed and painted wooden jewelry last summer.
“People are so surprised because back home we didn’t really have time or energy, we didn’t have the balls to go and start our own project,” Konecna said with a laugh.
But the energy of Revelstoke inspired them and even though Konecna claims to be “super bad” with computers, and even though the team didn’t know where they were going to source wood from, they went all in and bought a laser printer.
It is currently set up in Hovancova’s living room and requires an exhaust pipe to the patio as well as distilled water to keep it cool. Konecna calls it “The Laser” saying it is part of the family.
In the beginning there was a lot of trial and error. The duo had to find the right kind of wood, doing their best to break their pieces to ensure a solid, long last product. Luckily their pieces are tiny, so they can use scraps that others might just throw away. They source their wood as locally as possible and are always on the hunt for more.
They also had to try out a few different suppliers of studs and chains. Because Hovancova has sensitive skin, they use only surgical steel. They also try each new brand on Hovancova, and if she reacts they don’t use it.
Now that they have the supplies figured out, they are partnering with other businesses on new and exciting projects.
Konecna and Hovancova are from Olomouc, Czech Republic. There they started a not-for-profit working with contemporary sculptural artists and making exhibitions.
Though they no longer have a hand in the organization, Sick Chick sponsors a sculpture in order to continue supporting up and coming artists.
This is the teams first full summer in Revelstoke. Previously they lived the transient life and travelled, picking fruit in the Okanagan as well as other endeavours. Since moving to Canada they have also travelled to South America and Hawaii.
Everything they do inspires their art.
“We really believe that we are making something different, especially here in Canada,” Konecna said. “Some people use the same technique but our stuff is just different because it is our ideas, we are influenced by different things, what we do, what we like, where we come from, where we travel. It all influences the work and the final product.”
In Hovancova’s living room they work around a table, at perfect height for them to sit on the couch and work, built for them by Hovancova’s partner Jonah Kobr, who also slices the wood into thin pieces for them at the wood working studio at the Revelstoke Art Gallery.
It is much better than sitting on the floor, like they did in the beginning, Konecna joked.
“We just spend time together anyway, this makes us so happy and we just love all these little funky things, discovering all the new techniques, new colours, everything…it’s kind of a hobby but maybe in the future we are going to push it somewhere else, maybe,” Konecna said.
The duo love to work on the jewelry and find time between their multiple jobs to do just that, often with a glass of wine, catching up on what has been going on in their lives.
And when it is nice out, they move the workshop outside. Just the other day they spent the afternoon painting by the dam.