Monday, 19 October 2009

Reid Peppard: Vermin Jewellery

This is Reid Peppard, and this is her vermin jewellery.

Rat alice band with red crystal encrusted eyes and tail.Pidgeon foot pendant (above)
I know it is shocking, but i would certainly wear them. I hate mice and rats and pigeons, but mainly i detest mice and rats (give me a spider or cockroach any day of the week). The very sight of something scuttling in the corner of my eye, gets me on high alert, jumping and yelping like a crazed woman. But there is something about Reid's taxidermy jewellery that just doesn't get that reaction out of me, quite the opposite.

Q. Why Taxidermy vermin as jewelery?

A: The are a whole host of reasons that led to me making jewelery out of preserved vermin. When I first came to London from California i was really taken aback by the constant presence of rats and pigeons in the city. I mean, these creatures that by most are thought of as disease ridden pests live in such close proximity to us, they feed off our waste. Really, they are a consequence of human overindulgence. In their deaths' there is a chance for us to reconsider our relationship with them. Taxidermy can evoke such visceral emotional responses in people-- it looks like something that’s alive, even when you know its dead, there is something about it that touches a nerve.

When taxidermy and jewelry are combined there is a real chance for something beautiful yet creepy, fascinating and macabre to happen. Essentially your dressing yourself with death..

And then of course my cat Panasonic brings me little treats that she has caught in the wild and what better way to make use of them..

Q: I am guessing you cant be too squeamish with guts and gore...

A: When you do it well, then taxidermy doesn't haven't to be all that gory. It isn't as gross as many people imagine. Having said that i really like gory movies so maybe my squeam threshold is set higher than most's.

Q: Did you study jewellry design?

A: No I did not. I studied fine art at CSM. It was a great place to be. I was surrounded by really amazing designers and makers from loads of disciplines the whole time I was there. When I need help with something jewelry or craft specific, I have a whole network of knowledgeable people who are willing to lend a hand.

Photo by Viktor Vauthier
Q: Do you think you will move on from vermin?

A: Yes definitely. I have some designs in the works (and specimens in the freezer). I am working on a grey squirrel bomber hat at the moment.. Actually some people call them Vermin too don't they? Well I am working with squirrels and foxes for the next collection.

Q: How do you think the brand will progress? There is only so much you can do with mice, rats and pigeons right...(or is there)?

A: I am really excited about the future of RP/Encore. I am looking forward to working with new animals and I don't want people to get tired of seeing ratties and pigeons!
In terms of progression of the brand, I am at a stage now where a few more clients and stockists would go down a real treat.

Q: Are you working on any collaborations at the moment?

A: Not as many as I would like to but there are only so many hours in the day. I have been lending stuff out to stylists recently and I am really looking forward to seeing how the have worked with my pieces. In a sense that's a collaborative process...
I did make some work for a Lady GaGa video-- fingers crossed they use it!

I've also been working with creative duo PolzerHoffstedt on a Swedish pop star's music video, which is shaping up to be pretty amazing.

Q: What will the next collection be like?

A: I cannot wait. I am really excited to get started. Expect the same kind of fusion of taxidermy and accessories. This time I am going to make some more elaborate larger pieces as well as the smaller stuff like necklaces and cuff-links. I want to up my game in terms of the complexity of the designs. I don't want to spoil the surprise though so you will have to wait and see...

Q: What is your favourite piece?

Photo by Viktor Vauthier

A: I love all my creations! My friend Viktor Vauthier took the picture of the girl with the white rat wrist chain. That is definitely one of my favourites... Also I wear a pigeon foot pendant almost everyday (pictured above).