Several months ago, we dreamed up a project of connecting two members of the Spoonflower community with the goal of creating something great. No, not great…magical.
When it came time to brainstorm, two people immediately stood out to us: J. Clapp, Executive Director of The LGBTQ Center of Durham, and Spoonflower Ambassador, Nefertiti Griggs, the creative and maker behind The Corny Rainbow. You might know J. from last year’s Pride collaboration; we interviewed them and several other LGBTQ-identifying movers and shakers from Durham (watch the entire series here). You might also know them as Vivica C. Coxx, Durham’s drag diva and the matriarch of the House of Coxx, Durham’s favorite drag family and a staple of the queer community.
We met Nefertiti at D.C. Frocktails in February, and knew we had to work with her on something as soon as possible. Her attention to detail, love of vibrant color, and truly wonderful personality made her an ideal fit for this partnership. As the 4th of 11 kids, sewing was a way for Nerfertiti to spend quality time with her mother. Now in Virginia, she’s continued sewing as a way to stay connected to her mom and her family who live in Georgia. Nefertiti is also the owner of STOLEN Apparel.
Since Vivica is known for her classic styling (graceful dresses, bodysuits that accentuate her curves, and big hair) and belting out power ballads by Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, and Jennifer Hudson, Nefertiti was tasked with creating the perfect vehicle for Vivica’s larger-than-life personality and performances. Read on for our exclusive Q&A with Nefertiti and J. Clapp or jump down to the first episode below. Be sure to check out the second and third episode posts for more about Nefertiti and J. Clapp!
Episode 1: First Meeting
In the first episode, J. and Nefertiti meet for the first time, and J. introduces Nefertiti to Vivica. The two hit it off, talking background, wardrobe preferences, style inspiration, and all things Vivica.
Q&A with J. Clapp and Nefertiti Griggs
Introduce yourself and tell us what you do:
Nefertiti: Greetings my name is Nefertiti also known as The Corny Rainbow. I love creating and styling colorful clothing. I am the owner and creator of STOLEN apparel and I have been sewing since I was a child.
J. Clapp: Oh, I’m J. Clapp and I’m both the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Center of Durham and the matriarch of the House of Coxx, a social justice drag family in Durham. My stage name is Vivica C. Coxx.
How did you meet Spoonflower?
Nefertiti: I learned about Spoonflower in 2016 on Etsy searching for custom print fabric. Fast forward to 2019 when I purchased some of Katie Kortman’s fabric for a special swimsuit I wanted to make. Then in February 2020 I had the pleasure of finally meeting [Spoonflower team members] Meredith, Theresa, and Nicole at DC Frocktails.
J. Clapp: Well, we were planning pride for 2019 and a birdie told us of this company in Durham that had values congruent with those of the LGBTQ Center of Durham. We did a little investigating and found this humble and expansive company that was ready to show up.
First thoughts when we approached you about this project?
Nefertiti: My first thoughts when Spoonflower approached me about this project with J. Clapp was, ‘oh my gosh what in the world can I create? Can I handle designing for a drag queen? Are they going to love my work?’
J. Clapp: Oh, I couldn’t believe it was real. Imposter syndrome is real and I don’t always remember people know who I am and think of me when they think of fun projects. I was so happy to be asked and I am so pleased with it all.
What were you most excited about?
Nefertiti: I was most excited about working with Spoonflower and creating something one of a kind for Vivica’s performance.
J. Clapp: Getting to meet Nefertiti! Oh, and to see her designs and she did not disappoint.
How has your creative expression adapted in the times of COVID? What’s brought positive change?
Nefertiti: My creative expression during Covid has mostly been affected in a motivational way. I’m normally very easy to self motivate to create but during these challenging times, some days I just couldn’t create. I was able to get out of my creative block during Covid by created quick and easy projects instead of those more challenging projects.
J. Clapp: Child, this pandemic has kept me on my toes. How do you bring drag to life in the virtual world without losing the magic of in-person movement and interaction. You step your game up and know that you are going to have to be vulnerable, honest, and fearless.
Stay tuned to the blog and to our social channels next week for episode 2, to see what Nefertiti dreams up for J. We have a feeling it’s going to be magical!
I loved seeing this collaboration unfold! Hope to see more of these stories. Spoonflower has been the secret sauce my quilts and textile pieces for a long time and I get so inspired to see what other creators are doing.
Fabulous! Magnificent ! Total Joy! and Self Expression
I Love Creativity and Fashion. Yea!
It was magical to watch the start of a deep friendship in the making …
Thank you both for being so open on camera . I’m fortunate to be open minded and open hearted in such a crazy world … you two , actually three with Vivica ;)… are inspiring 😘
We feel the same, Lisa! So magical, and inspiring. Thank you for your open heart, we are grateful for supportive people like you.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Black Magic. I am white, live “upnorth “” by the Canadian border. It is wonder to see young people of color be highlighted . Congrats to you both and can’t wait to see future episodes!
Thank you so much Susan! The next episode will be on the blog this coming Friday. We hope you’ll be back to view it. 🙂
Spoonflower Presents: Creating Black Magic
WoW….Really? Featuring a Drag Queen? Why ? Really disappointing Spoonflower is engaged in the culture narrative rather than just design, fabrics?…isn’t there any place one can go just for the sake of enjoying something without this?
Gee, Mary, that’s like asking “can’t I got to some place to read cool design posts and articles without seeing someone freak out and make nasty complaints about it because they don’t like the gender/identity of someone in the article.”
Spoonflower is an inclusive space where family, sustainability, inclusivity, empowerment, transparency, and authenticity are all brand values that we center our efforts on throughout the Spoonflower community and marketplace. We believe all people have a right to enjoy and express themselves through beautiful design and fabric, and we whole-heartedly support our friends and colleagues within the LGBTQ+ community.
I love Black Magic but I couldn’t find a video. Just text and photos. Did I miss something?
Thanks for having a look! The video is within the blog post under the headline, Episode 1: First Meeting. You will find it under the first photo and first paragraphs of text. You can also see it here:
This is amazing. I always loved Spoonflower and all the cool design that I saw there but this, this makes me a bigger fan. What a way to honor and merge Black creativity, LGBTQIA communities and gorgeous fabric and fashion. Thank you, thank you!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Enita! We’re so impressed with J. and Nefertiti. They MADE this whole collaboration and we couldn’t be happier. 🙂
Creating Black Magic is a fascinating project. I loved episodes 1&2. When I got the email about episode 3, I clicked to watch but I am getting an error message. Any suggestions?
We’re so happy to hear you have been enjoying Black Magic and we apologize for the unexpected link issue. You can find the reveal of Vivica’s dress here!