Monday, 22 April 2013

Upcycling tiny tea-stained thieves

Grace Lane and two of her mice
I spotted Grace Lane and her collection of hand-made animals at the hugely popular Crafty Fox Market at the Dogstar in Brixton just before Easter.

Perhaps a little diffident, she has an attractive, almost fey presence which works well in tandem with her magical array of animal characters, "A Threadbear Production".  The animals aren't just magical, feckless even! They all look entirely capable of "borrowing" a button off your coat, a few stray hairs off your collar or the silver paper off your chewing gum wrapper. This is because they are modelled after miniature thieves.

Count the items Grace has "recycled" on her borrowing bears!
Grace has long been inspired by her passion for Mary Norton's book "The Borrowers" about a family
of tiny people who live by borrowing off the Big People. Each animal is unique and kitted out in once grand (now threadbear) materials that might well have been snitched from an aristocratic pile of cast offs. The vintage fabrics include Harris Tweeds, silk velvets and organic linens. They are all accessorised with "found" objects.  Grace makes clever use of discarded junk like old match boxes and minuscule silver foil hats and she distresses and stains the fabrics with tea to achieve that long-lived in look!

Grace is in her last term of university at London College of Fashion studying Costume for Performance.  She enjoys playing with scale and finds second hand, vintage and recycled materials have a much richer quality to them that works well. Her artistic relations often lend a hand in the creation of the animals; her mother with the sewing, and her uncle by providing the odd bit of vintage fabric or embroidery. By the way, the standard animals sell for around £170-£200 although commissioned ones may cost a little more.

Grace has plans for "A Threadbear Production" and may animate a few of the characters so remember, you read about her first, here!

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