Rebecca Bonaci’s hand-painted homeware collection with Thiss Clay was an “effortless” collaboration

Rebecca Bonaci has gained a loyal following for her intricate tattoo illustrations, defining a unique style of line work that is recognisably hers. But her artistic talents, which have grown and evolved since her youth, go well beyond that niche.

In the coming weeks, she will launch her first solo exhibition, Guf, comprised of a series of works that explores and celebrates contemporary motherhood. Her limited-edition illustrations have taken pride of place in many a home, and recently, her collaboration with ceramic studio Thiss Clay added homeware to her growing list of accomplishments.

The collection, which comprised 20 hand-made pieces varying from vases to mugs to small plates, is the result of an organic relationship between the artist and studio, most of which sold out, with the last remaining pieces available at Camilleri Paris Mode.


“I knew Matt and Sophia before they started Thiss Clay, and when they started posting their ceramics I fell in love with their work,” Rebecca tells Design Dispatch. “At the time I was not tattooing full-time as I was still on maternity leave, so I thought collaborating with Thiss would be a fun project to work on from home.”

Rebecca created a series of sinuous illustrations in black for the collection. “I like the wonky aesthetics that Thiss Clay have, so I decided to work on classic botanical illustrations which I thought would create a nice contrast.”

The thin and layered glaze on each piece allowed Rebecca to add detail and various tonalities to the work, a process she compares to painting with water colour.

“All the paintings for this collection were drawn freehand, which I feel created more flow. Painting on ceramics was a therapeutic process for me. I enjoy tattooing, but I feel it’s nice to find a balance and work on other projects from time to time.”

During her academic years, Rebecca experimented with hand-painted homeware, including pillowcases and furniture that she co-collaborated on and sold at markets. “It was a fun way for us to make some money when we were studying.”

But her collection with Thiss Clay could mark a new venture for the versatile artist. “I love the feeling when creating one-of-a-kind objects, and when I saw Thiss Clay’s ceramics I felt that it would be a good match.”

“I do feel that our collaboration was effortless in a way. We met and discussed, but we pretty much left it to run its course organically. Sophie and Matt created the ceramics and then gave them to me to paint. I was always so excited to see what they created,” says Rebecca. “They are professional and genuine, and I have tattooed both of them, so I guess we trusted each other enough for this organic workflow to happen.”

By Martina Bartolo Parnis