Their fully equipped screenprinting studio is founded and run by creative women and specializes in churning out the dopest art imaginable.
Welcome to Le Raclet, your colorful neighborhood screenprinting studio. Nestled in the heart of hip Kreuzberg, Berlin, the shop is owned by the friendly founder and all-around showrunner called Bera. Bera is an Italian screenprint artist who prides herself on producing fine art and high end silkscreens onto paper, textiles and many other materials.
Like many Berliners, Bera comes from somewhere else and her creativity drove her to relocate to the true city that never sleeps, and the unofficial creative capital of the world. Take a quick look at a typical day around their fully equipped studio and hear what Bera has to say about her own journey and how she came to follow her passion.
Photos by Julia Benz
Words by Jeroen Smeets
Where are you from — what is your original background?
I grew up in a small town on the North East coast of Sicily, which was great as a kid, because of the sunshine and the never ending days playing in the streets, but which soon became veeeery boring. [So] once I grew up, I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18 and headed to Milan. Then the real adventures began.
How did your childhood frolics shape the person you are today?
Coming from a family of immigrants, together with the unlimited freedom I had as a kid definitely influenced me. I lived in different countries and I’ve never been afraid of moving to a new place, even if I had to carry around all of my screenprint equipment!
When did you move to Berlin? And being Italian, what made you decide to move to Berlin and face the Berlin winter?
I moved to Berlin in 2010. It was very spontaneous; no big planning, not too much decision making. Three years after I had started my studio [in Italy], I realized that Milan was too money driven for me, and that influenced negatively the job requests I was getting. So I asked one of my best friends if he wanted to drive me to Berlin, where I knew I would find a more open-minded community of artists, and a few days later we were on the road.
I had no idea back then that almost eight years after I’d still be here, and yet haven’t learned how to dress up in winter!
How did you get started with screen printing?
I stumbled upon screenprint in 2004, during my Erasmus year at the School of Fine Art in Lisbon. I immediately had a deep understanding for the technique and I got very well along with the technician of the studio, Paulo, who was always helping me and pushing me to do the craziest projects. After a few weeks I was already making oversize prints on the floor of the workshop with his assistance, because the screens I wanted to pull where too big for our printing table. It was just so much fun to work there, I could never get enough.
When you started out with screen printing, was having your own screen print studio always something that you had imagined? How did this idea come together over time?
Well, I knew that I wanted to keep screenprinting after my studies were finished, and having my own studio was pretty much the only way to do it. I also never really saw myself working under a boss or having work hours or duties imposed by others, and that naturally led me to start my own studio.
Your studio is called Le Raclet, what is the meaning behind this name?
It’s wordplay with “Racla” which is the word for squeegee in Italian. I just wanted the studio’s name to be somehow humorous.
What are the pros and cons of running your own studio?
It is exactly like any other freelancer would tell you: you can manage your time as you like and adjust your schedule to your own needs, select the projects and the people you want to work with. But at the end of the day you work pretty much 24/7 because there’s always so much to take care of. Not only just printing, but making orders, taking care of social media, communication, [as well as] bureaucracy, and administration are a big part of the work too.
In 10 years of running your own studio, you must have collected a lot of wild and beautiful memories. Can you name a few?
Working for artists is never boring. It can get annoying sometimes, but most of the time it’s fun! I’ve met all sorts of people and have been asked to experiment a lot with my work. The most exciting part has always been to solve “problems” that artists bring to the studio; find the way to mix an artist’s idea with my own and translate that into the finished product.
I can’t hide that one of the best moments of these 10 years has been organizing, curating and printing the studio’s 10 year anniversary show. It was incredibly fun to work with an extensive lineup of artists that I admire and that I also found to be incredible people. The show also marked the beginning of a new adventure as screenprint publishers and the opening of our online shop. This is definitely a time of my life I’ll never forget!
Congrats on the 10th anniversary of your studio! What’s next?
Well, I don’t know… ten more years of printing? 🙂