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We took a drive to Echo Park to hang out with some of our favorite makers, Alice and Sebastian, the creative and eclectic duo behind Miwak Junior. The afternoon was spent talking about art, getting the chance to give a pipe to Roger Steffens of The Family Acid, and the idea of making things more fun. We're so grateful to have Miwak Junior be part of the shop and on the blog. Meet Alice and Seb!
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Alice: I played a victim in a vampire movie and I made a new friend while waiting around all day. This new friend invited me out to the Redwood downtown with a bunch of her friends, and Sebastian was in the crew of friends. We moved bars, it was very crowded, and me and Sebastian got separated from the group. He told me he was from Chile and had no money so I bought him a beer to welcome him to the country.
Seb: A Chilean rapper came to stay at my house, and he met the whole neighborhood at the coffee shop. He introduced me to my neighbor a few blocks up the street, and the neighbor became my friend. One night he invited me out to the Redwood with some of his friends, and that's where I met Alice. She was like a representative from the White House of love, giving me a warm welcome to the country. Like the old America.
I had finished my MFA in experimental animation at CALArts but wanted to stay in this country, so I extended my student visa by taking ceramics at Pasadena City College. I fell in love with ceramics. I first made pipes in the class, but pipes weren't allowed so my first two tries got thrown away. On my third try, the pipe went through. I knew I had a very discreet design, it passed the eyes of the censors. Friends liked them and wanted them, and then it just kept growing on its own.
The name was a phonetical decision based on my love for Japanese culture. I love the common Japanese woman's name 'Miwa'.
What was your favorite subject in school?
Seb: Physics and music and art
What was the last epiphany you had?
Alice: That it's not that I'm lazy; it's just that I'm not motivated by money. My reason for doing something can't just be money. I sure wish I had more money; but every time I set out specifically to make any, I always end up losing interest and fucking something up. I'm not proud of it. It's babyish. But I have to face facts about myself. So I asked myself, 'okay well then what DOES motivate you? Surely SOMEthing motivates your lazy ass', and my answer is fun. I ask it with everything now. What would make this tedious task more fun for me personally? How can I find a way to enjoy this? My goal is to have fun the largest percentage of my life as possible.
Seb: Things look very pretty under water.
What does a day in LA look like for you?
Seb: Mainly I've been doing a lot of driving. Hoping soon to do more driving but only to the ocean to surf.
Alice: My LA consists mostly of me in this apartment, crazed and unwashed before a computer screen. When I'm not doing that, I go to happy hour and people's houses. I am currently looking for a pool situation.
Working with your partner must bring a different dynamic, how do your different strengths compliment each other?
Seb: It's pretty clear. Alice does all the humanity: contacts, sales, talking with customer people, marketing ideas. Instagram. She is the voice of the company. I'm just in the back making pipes.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Alice: The ability to not fear the future.
If there was anyone you could give a pipe to, who would it be?
Sebastian: Snoop Dogg. He'll appreciate it and he's funny.
Alice: I wish I could give them to my family members in Georgia. They desperately need to smoke weed.
Give us a playlist of your 5 favorite songs
Les Amants - Les Rita Mitsouko
Sword of Damocles - Lou Reed
Belfast - Orbital
Chi Mai - Ennio Morricone
Serpiente Dorada - Dengue Dengue Dengue
BKNY - Fat Tony
I'd Rather Be With You - Bootsy Collins
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye - Betty Swan
I Got Love - Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Let Me Do It To You - J. J. Cale
See some of Miwak Junior's work here.
Thank you Alice and Sebastian!
Photos by Marielle Chua