RAKKY is for people who find joy in wearing something unusual, who appreciate the peculiar and who aren’t averse to a bit of anti-minimalism. “If Bjork and Tony Gum had a baby, she’d wear RAKKY,” says Rachel Kelly, who launched the Cape Town based studio in June.
Rachel studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, specialising in print making and photography. She then studied teaching at UCT and went on to lecture colour theory, collage and media skills at the Spier Arts Academy. While she never expected to get into making wearable items, she loves the idea that something can be imagined, produced and then used by people to adorn themselves and add to their visual identity. “I’m also inspired by the energy I get from running my own small business and putting all I can into it and slowly watching it grow,” says Rachel. Alonside RAKKY she does freelance curating for the Nando’s Art Collections and assists a local artist part-time.
Experimentation, mistakes and tests form Rachel’s creative process. “Because almost all of the pieces I produce are on-of-a-kind, I spend a lot of time playing around and trying to decide what works,” she explains. “I find it liberating to make what I feel like making and not feeling bound to producing a product that I have made a hundred times over.” RAKKY is very much about the contrast between the organic/handmade and that which looks geometric/machine-produced. In creating the pieces, Rachel draws inspiration from the shapes, colours and patterns of rocks as well as African motifs, the work of Nathalie du Pasquier, Japanese design, Muti flyers and Ancient Egyption artifacts.
RAKKY beads are made from a variety of materials including wood, polymer clay and resin. Because of “the texture and sounds they make when strung together on a chain, they feel like a collection of magical or mysterious objects that one could use to tell fortunes with,” she says. “I use a lot of eyes in my designs, speckled blogs, marbling, dice and ancient symbols. Each bead is like a charm which tells stories of the mish-mash of yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
At the moment Rachel is working towards launching her online store at the end of September, which she’d like to use as a platform that allows people to customise their own RAKKY ensembles.