Rapiditas Studio by Layla & David

Bootlegging is a lot like marmite; you either love it or hate it, you either get it or you don’t! Layla and David of Rapiditas studio GET IT and do it oh so well. Imperfection, irony and ‘bad taste’ being at the heart, in my opinion, of what they do. As they say below, they appropriate and distort what we all know- the ‘perfect’, capitalist giants- and make them ‘imperfect’ and their own.

This approach to bootleg, in my opinion, is how it should be done- Dapper Dan, for example, being the father of Bootleg. His designs were beautifully made, with fine workmanship BUT he made the logos of large fashion houses his own, he didn’t attempt to perfectly emulate their designs but made his own BETTER ones. This can be seen today with studios such as Rapiditas, they see these logos and want to create something of their own with them, in the best way they know how and it’s not about perfection for them.

The best bootlegging is the unexpected, the designs that wouldn’t be created by the companies that are being featured. It’s not about emulation but instead something new alongside the familiar and imposing imagery.

I find their work so so satisfying and cannot wait to be able to add some of it to my home. See what they had to say below-

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Rapiditas  are two people. Layla and David.

Layla is a freelance graphic designer and web master. David is a DJ and promoter, co-founder of Caballito Netlabel.

We both like image, design, music and the arts.

Of course we love food and being at home.

Rapiditas is a brand that David invented many years ago to create t-shirts, tote bags and some designs. It never came to anything, until now.

Now it is practically focused on ceramics. 

What we do is simple. We create ceramic objects in a rough and imperfect way because we don’t know how to do it better. And then we stamp in ceramic decals or hand painted, everything we can think of, we appropriate all the logos that invade the lives of almost everyone and we deform them.

On our website you can find a very pompous definition, of course it is copied and distorted.

2. What are your Inspirations? 

We listen to random people’s music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

3. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

 Both require a lot of time and know how they work and are also a quick window for them to get to know you. If it weren’t for IG we wouldn’t be here and we would never have sold a mug. 🙂

4.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

We would like to keep creating new things, mix materials, keep having fun.

If you do what you enjoy doing, you are doing the right thing. easy.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

These are a few people who do fun and interesting things and they sure love what they do.      The list could be longer:

instagram.com/prettychocoboworld/

instagram.com/irenecienfu/

instagram.com/acabceramics/

instagram.com/rebequitalabonita/

instagram.com/alicia.hena/

instagram.com/bizumfabiosteopatiktok/

instagram.com/xavierdekepper/

instagram.com/33_degres_sous_les_cocotiers/

instagram.com/93nido/

Clay Kitchen by Lyndsay Sawyer

As we’ve discussed previously, this strange time has enabled people to crack out the crafts and explore creative outlets they might not have had time to focus on before the pandemic. Clay Kitchen by the lovely Lyndsay is the result of this extra time and love for tiny smiley faces on everyday food (& earbuds!).

Any mixture of tiny models, food and smiley faces is always going to result in something I’ll enjoy… and I hope you all do as well! A perfect gift that will look qt as fuq on any kitchen shelf alongside your favourite cook books, an essential for any home tbh.

Read on to find out more about Lyndsay and Clay Kitchen…

1.Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

I’m Lyndsay and I live in Bristol, I started playing round with air dry clay in the first lockdown last year, because I needed to occupy my brain/time. I’ve always been obsessed with eggs (I even have an egg tattoo) So what started out as making smiley fried eggs turned into all different kinds of food sculptures and  My friends and partner encouraged me to start an Instagram account, commissions (some non-food related!) followed and I very recently launched a shop!

Clay Kitchen is all about fun and silliness with a nostalgic nod to the contents of my school lunchbox. I just want to make things that make people smile.

  1. What are your Inspirations? 

The city of Bristol, it’s a very inspiring and creative place. I feel like there is a community that always champions the independent. It also has a great food and craft beer scene which is a constant source of inspiration. I’ve always been a creative person and I studied Art & Design at university. I regularly visit galleries and sculpture parks (when not in a pandemic!)

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

I don’t think I would of had the courage to launch a shop without the response I was getting on social media. I’ve met so many great makers and small businesses since launching Clay Kitchen but also it’s so hard not to get consumed with worry about posting the right or enough content. With social media you are constantly comparing yourself to other people and I have been reminding myself that I need to go at my own pace and to enjoy what I’m doing.

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?  

I’m very much at the beginning right now and I’m just so happy when people say they love my work. Getting enough work to go part time in my not very exciting day job would be the absolute dream! As for advice..I’m just muddling along trying to figure everything out but I would say there are so many lovely creative people out there. I’ve had some amazing conversations with people whose work I really admire, so don’t be afraid to send someone a message!

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

Ahhhhh there are so many many talented people out there! Catalina Cheng (@catalina_cheng) is an amazing artist. Hiller Goodspeed’s (@hillergoodspeed) work is just a constant joy and inspiration. Bernie Kaminski (@berniekaminski) and Madison Rudin (@madisonrudin_art) make wonderful things! There are so many great independent Bristol based businesses but some of my favourites are The DIY Supermarket (@theDIYsupermarket) Pirrip Press (@pirrip_press) & Good Store Studio (@goodstorestudio)

Julia Elsas

There are those times when you see something on the internet and instantly fall head over heels in love, well…that happened with me and Julia’s awesome ceramic work. With bold colours and imperfect but perfectly formed designs Julia’s ceramic collections are aesthetic forces to be reckoned with.

As Julia mentions below she reacted to a hole in the market for functional artful products and she was so so right. You know what is hard to find? GOOD WALL HOOKS!!! These wonderful handmade hooks fill that void that is usually just filled with horrible minimalist metal or weird pine wall hooks perfectly.

Merging her artistic crafts perfectly, whether it’s her installation art or ceramic lines; each are a clear extension of herself, her passions and inspirations. As Julia discusses below, she wants these crafts (and the crafting/ small business world) to create a sustainable and community driven world, imagining a more localised economy where independent creators and businesses are supported (which is something, fingers crossed, I have seen coming into fruition over the past few months.)

Please read on, Julia has given one of my favourite and most insightful bunch of answers to the five questions!

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hello! My name is Julia Elsas. I am a visual artist and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I work with ceramics, printmaking, installation and performance. My first NY solo show is open now until November 28th at Cooler Gallery in Brooklyn. I also have a line of ceramic goods which include wall hooks, menorahs, necklaces and vases. The ceramic products I make either started as small sculptural elements in larger installations, or they were created as functional artful objects that I couldn’t find elsewhere. The first pieces I officially released into the world as ceramic ‘products’ outside of my visual art were ceramic necklaces. Over time I began making and selling ceramic wall hooksmenorahs, and tube vases. I initially marketed my ceramic product line under a different name, but last year I switched back to releasing everything under my name. I hope my art can lead people to the smaller objects for sale and visa versa. 

  1. What are your Inspirations?

My list of inspirations is endless. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and spent summers driving around the southeastern part of the United States visiting “folk artists” like Howard FinsterMose Toliver and places like Ave Maria Grotto.  My mom gave me a copy of Amiri Baraka’s “Hunting is not the Heads on the Wall” (published in 1964 when he went by Le Roi Jones) when I was in high school, and it profoundly affected my ideas about art and life and how, for many/most non-western cultures, the two are completely intertwined and inseparable. Other inspirations: Nina Simone; Hilma af Klint; Gees Bend quilts; Shaker Gift Drawings; Mexican textiles by Josefa Ibarra; Sophie Calle; The Discipline of Do Easy, by William S. Burroughs and Gus van Sant; and it continues…

3.Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Social media is a terrible and dangerous platform if you are looking for sincere human interaction and connection. It has contributed to a vast amount of misinformation and divisiveness in our country and around the world. On the other hand (!), Instagram has been 100% helpful for marketing my work, getting new stocklists, discovering new artists, etc.

 4.Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I am working on some large orders (very large for me!) this holiday season for new stocklists. I feel fortunate to have the work, especially at a time when so many people are out of jobs, but long term bigger isn’t necessarily better for me. I’m happy to keep my business small and make my products mostly in-house. It’s important for me to keep the quality of craftsmanship high and stay true to myself as an artist. In the next few years I would love to work on limited edition projects with other artists, designers and artful brands. As my business grows, it’s important for me to figure out how to create sustainable long-term ways to give back to my community. I love what artists are doing in the Level Up Project

Some of the best advice I have gotten is to take the leap and get your work out there! Your website and line sheet don’t have to be perfect. You can always tweak designs, prices, and products as you go. You have to spend money to make money – especially if you are investing in making ceramic products to sell! Take a risk and invest in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice along the way.

5. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

There are so many, but first and foremost,

Love and Victory  is run by my friend Meg Morehouse. Meg designs barware and a range of cocktail-related goods, but she is also a fierce activist and a constant inspiration. 

Sheena Sood was a student of mine at the Lower East Side Print Shop, and I love watching her clothing brand, Abacaxi grow! I don’t have any of her pieces yet, but I’m eyeing a few items from her latest collection.

I am so impressed by Sarah Hussaini / Not Work Related  and how she grabbed the pandemic by the horns and moved a wheel into the bathroom of her Brooklyn apartment to continue throwing pots when everything was shut down. I was lucky enough to snag one of her ceramic mugs made during that time. They sell out in a few minutes!

I subscribed to Michelle Ishikawa’s Okimoto  flower share this summer, and it brought me beauty and wonderment during a strange and stressful time. Michelle says it better than I can on her website: “She strives to give back to the earth as much as we collectively borrow from it, and is dedicated to furthering discourse on how to mindfully steward our environment and radically dream of a more equitable and just economic future.” 

I’m obsessed with Anders Hamilton’s Crater Cups recently released through BKLYN Clay. I want them all.