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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Reid Peppard Jewellery

Bound to cause a bit of contention. Truly imaginative and talented Reid Peppard is a jewellery designer who incorporates taxidermy into her work it is really interesting, but definitely not for the faint hearted, it’s like really extreme recycling....I shot some of her pieces and met up with her for an interview...

How did you start working with Taxidermy?
I grew up in America and my Aunt lived with us for a long time, and she was a fine artist, with a big thing for bugs and her work was quite gothic, which wasn’t trendy at all in the nineties. Because she was always telling me that insects were amazing, as I child I realised that yes they are, and that grew into an interest in insect specimens, Taxidermy and Biology.
I studied at Central St Martins, while there I was buying a lot of Taxidermy off ebay, and thought that I should just learn how to make it myself.

What made you start turning Taxidermy into Jewellery?
Well my degree show had an installation with 30 Taxidermy rats, and it seemed a natural progression to start experimenting with wearing it. It seems that people are so jaded about what you wear at this point, you can wear a T shirt with Phalluses upon it, and no one cares. It takes a lot to get people’s interest. But with Taxidermy as jewellery it really makes people gasp and has the power to get their attention.

I agree, it’s amazing, a real statement. Do you ever get bizarre reactions from people for wearing Taxidermy?
I’ve been actually getting really positive feedback, I would say the worst reaction was self-inflicted – I went out last Halloween with 5 Rats in my hair, so the comments from people that night were to be expected!

Where do you get the animals for your jewellery?
Well I ride a bike, and I get a lot of road kill squirrels and pigeons. My friends also let me know if they see any dead animals. Last week I got told about three roadkill foxes. There is a really tight window though. I have to get the animal as soon as possible after it has died.

It’s really good that you are using these roadkill vermin, otherwise they’d just get splatted further and washed down the gutter. Is there a reason why you use Vermin?
I’m trying to not use anything that’s too cute or pretty, people when they first see the pieces can be freaked out, until they look at it further and realise that these animals are actually quite beautiful. I like that it challenges people to look at the vermin that they usually hate in a new light.
There’s something really ironic about it too, I had a call in for Vogue Russia, they have asked for some of my Pigeon Wing headpieces, for a shoot with Claudia Schiffer. I’m pretty amazed that a Pigeon I found squashed outside Majestic on Shoreditch High Street can make it into a shoot with Claudia Schiffer.

Do you have a stockist?
Luna and Curious on Brick Lane, I also have had interest from Liberties.

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