Actor, composer, playwright, storyteller, director, author, psychology scholar, and hatmaker … these are some of the strands that weave together the multidisciplinary artistic fabric of JonCha, the man behind a range of handmade hats retailing under the Agave Road label.
JonCha's interest in hat-making began while road-tripping in the US with his wife, the Swedish photographer Anna Malmberg. Somewhere along the route that took the couple from Austin to LA, he found himself falling for the battered and dusty old hats he discovered in small desert towns they travelled through, each one imbued with its own character and etched with lifetimes of stories. It dawned on him that he would need to learn the art of hatmaking for himself because he had reached the point of "Trying to figure out how many times I'd have to come back to fulfill my dreams to own thousands of hats...". That's where Agave Road Hats, began but JonCha's own artistic and storytelling journey began a decade or two prior to that. Watch his interview video below in which he talks about his life and responds to the Proust-style questionnaire.
Today the Agave Road retail collection is uniquely inspired by characters from JonCha's favourite books and, by association, draws on the natural landscape surrounding his home workshop in the South of France bordering the Camargue, in the area where he grew up and now shares with Anna and their family.
The Carmargue is Western Europe’s largest river delta, where the Petit Rhône and Grand Rhône Rivers meet the Mediterranean Sea. This hauntingly beautiful landscape is the backdrop for the famous indigenous white horses that roam wild through the mosaic of shimmering lagoons, silver-blue horizons and salt flats. This vast watercolour biosphere supports an abundance of bird species, including large flocks of pink flamingos. It's also home to a special breed of wide-horned, black Carmargue cattle, much beloved and celebrated in Provencale culture, and to their mounted custodians, the gardians, whose equestrian tradition began in 1500.
In this video interview, JonCha speaks about his work, touches on what matters most in life - it's not things, in case you're wondering - and ponders an eclectic selection of wide-ranging questions in the Proust-style questionnaire.
Take a look. When you're done, buy an heirloom Agave Road Hat and start collecting stories with it that will pass down through the generations.JonCha Agave Road Hats by Bev Tucker