Interview with Rabbit and Dragon, a Collaborative Design Studio

Rabbit and Dragon marbled cheese board

Rabbit and Dragon is a multidisciplinary studio founded by two creatives: ceramicist Mariko Tanaka and designer Izzy Lezcano. Their handmade goods range from textiles, ceramics, candles or paper goods. Their products are crafted to be functional and add a touch of clean modern design to our everyday lives. The designs are truly beautiful – they just make us smile.

Rabbit and Dragon color plates

Rabbit and Dragon indigo eye pillows

Mariko and Izzy love collaborating, yet they each have their preferred mediums. Mariko makes functional and unique ceramics from porcelain and stoneware. Izzy works with paper and textiles, mixing printing and dying techniques. Mariko tells us more about herself, the Rabbit and Dragon story, and their plans for the next few months.

Rabbit and Dragon - Mariko at work

A little trivia about yourself

– Born & raised: Izzy is originally from the UK, where she studied Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, and has been living in NYC for the last 4 years.Mariko grew up on the West Coast and Tokyo and studied at Pratt Institute.
– Cups of coffee a day: 1 cup / cold brew iced coffee
– Currently reading: Werner Herzog, Of Walking in Ice
– Currently listening to: Caetano Veloso
– Favorite pizza place: Lucali’s
– Hidden talent: mixologist
– If I didn’t do what I do, I would be a… horticulturalist on a farm somewhere raising a pack of alpacas.

What inspired you to start your business? When did you start?

Rabbit & Dragon launched in the spring of 2014, and started originally as a collaborative project with myself producing functional ceramics and Izzy Lezcano creating hand dyed textiles and paper goods. We were inspired to create one of a kind, beautifully crafted works with a modern and minimalist aesthetic.

What is your production process like, from concept to finished product?

My ceramics are hand built, wheel thrown or slip cast in stoneware or porcelain. I take inspiration from a Japanese design philosophy, which embodies simplicity, asymmetry, and subtlety, in creating these one of kind pieces. I work out the geometry of the lines and curves and keep things clean and polished. I design and sculpt my ceramic pieces for weeks or months experimenting with different techniques and styles of glazes until I can get to the final product. The dinnerware and plates are all painted or drawn by hand.

Rabbit and Dragon ceramics

What are you planning for the next few months?

I’ve been working on a new line of ceramic cheese boards, mixing dark and white clays bodies to create a natural clay patterned effect. Each one is unique and makes for an exceptional presentation for cheeses or hors d’oeuvres and perfect for the holidays.

We also collaborated to create a new line of beautiful dinnerware plates made by imprinting one of Izzy’s hand cut lino print of botanical design onto clay, which will be presented at the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.

Rabbit and Dragon cheese plant plates

Rabbit and Dragon Shibori Wall Hanging

Rabbit and Dragon mini cheese board

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

Definitely don’t forget to reach out and connect with other creatives for networking and advice. Be flexible to the changing needs of the marketplace and open to considering new opportunities, especially these days many are online. Social media is also a fantastic platform for people to find and see your work.

What are your favorite neighborhood spots?

I’m in Williamsburg. La Superior is a tried and true favorite for their street style tacos and their margaritas are fantastic. Donna for their happy hour frozen cocktails.

Cheers to Rabbit and Dragon! You can shop the full collection at rabbitanddragon.bigcartel.com. Don’t miss Mariko in person at our upcoming Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.

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