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Monday 9 June 2014

Excellent Women: Grace Du Prez

I was recently introduced to Grace Du Prez at a dinner being held by another excellent woman, Miss Cakehead. Grace rocked up with a hand-made scarecrow version of Miss Cakehead, commissioned for a garden installation she was working on. It was a wonderful likeness - even embroidered with all of Miss Cakehead's tattoos!

One wonders how you get into this line of work… well, Grace graduated from Loughborough University with a BA Hons Degree in Multi Media Textiles before going on to complete her MA in Mixed Media Textiles at the Royal College Of Art. 

Grace describes herself as a designer-maker, using digital embroidery and material manipulation techniques to produce one-off custom designs as well as more wearable diffusion pieces. Saying that she specialises in statement jewellery is something of an understatement, as you can see from these incredible, over-sized pieces. Unsurprisingly, she's been involved in lots of festivals, namely with The Secret Emporium.

I love these pieces of 'hairy jewellery'. Grace explains the inspiration behind the collection:

Hair can be seen as a thing of beauty. Representing a woman’s femininity, power, confidence and sexuality. However when it is removed from the body, the context changes and it becomes something we do not want to touch. 

Hair is said to be our best accessory that can represent who we are as a person and these jewellery pieces question our relationship we have with it.

And if that's not statement enough, how about this UV collection?

Grace has also exhibited at a number of art galleries - my favourite being a show by Guts for Garters, a wonderful art project run by yet more excellent ladies - Rachel Chudley and Cassie Beadle - pictured below.

The pieces above and below are part of an interpretation of British culture, combining tradition and heritage with a modern day stance. Fabric manipulation is incorporated with experimental embellishment techniques to create contemporary textiles.

Grace has also put her skills to use for performance pieces - below is the outfit she created for 'Does my bum look big in this?', a comment on society's ideals of the body.

Whilst you might not want to buy your own giant bum dress, Grace's jewellery is perfect for the festival season - you can find it in her online store, and follow her on twitter to hear about the latest markets or galleries she'll be selling at. Or you could always drop her a line if you're after your own personalised scarecrow?

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