A very well-done seating chart is what brought together creative soulmates Jazmin de la Guardia and Sierra Yip-Bannicq, who met during their first day of drawing class at Pratt Institute in 2009. The two immediately bonded over their worldly upbringings—Sierra is half-French, half-Chinese and grew up in Beijing, while Jazmin is half-Cuban, half-Uruguayan and was born in Paraguay. Seven years and one graduation-movie montage later, they decided to take their friendship in a profesh direction and launched their Brooklyn-based design studio Franca, focused on ceramics that reflect their diverse backgrounds (the name comes from “lingua franca”). “We’ve been lucky enough to travel and experience a lot of different cultures. We let that flow into our designs and never limit ourselves,” says Sierra.
One thing all of their vases and mugs share: a sense of fun, with glaze motifs that range from pink-and-orange splatters to line drawings of Sierra’s pup Uma. The pair also travels the world to work with artisans, starting with the master potters from South Central China that helped bring a recent collection of ribbed planters and bowls to life. It’s a fitting, full-circle project for two women who are at home pretty much anywhere—and fiercely flying solo, together. In Jazmin’s words, “I always knew that I wanted to be my own boss. We’re very much learning as we go but are living the dream!”
Image by Annie Jung for Culivate