Grace Du Prez is a mixed media designer in London, England. Her portfolio spans inventive accessory pieces through to experimental textiles. She first made headlines with 3Doodler with her stunning 3Doodled Peacock Hat for Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot. It was clear that we had to learn more about her craft, and since then we have collaborated with Grace on a whole range of pieces, with some more exciting "objects of desire" in the works.

This week we are excited to go behind the scenes of Grace Du Prez's amazing creations:

3Doodler: What drew you to the 3Doodler as a tool for your work? Did it take a while to become comfortable using it compared with more traditional mediums?

Grace Du Prez: I’m always drawn to trying new materials and I love creating tactile surfaces, so when I was approached to do my first 3Doodler project I was really excited - it sounded like something I would really enjoy. My previous work has involved lots of surface design techniques including digital embroidery and fabric manipulation, as well as the use of many unusual materials from leather to human hair, and even Mini Cheddars!

It was really interesting to start working with plastic as a medium and exploring all the different effects you can create. I like that the 3Doodler combines modern technology and yet is still very hands on. The making process is integral to me as a designer and I like my work to have a hand made quality.

I got the hang of using 3Doodler relatively quickly. Although I must have clocked up several hundred hours by now!

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3Doodler: What goes into the process of designing a 3Doodler piece? Do you create your own templates to begin with?

GDP: My design process is quite experimental and there is always an element of trial and development. I often start with a mood-board and a brainstorm of ideas. If there is a brief then that has to be a focus point and both function and aesthetic features need to be considered. I will draw a few basic sketches of the silhouette and then work out the templates using CAD. Designing on the computer works well for me as I can easily make alterations and work out the exact scale. I can also try out different colour options. I then print out the templates and make a paper mock-up. At this point I can see if it will work logistically. For the final part of the planning process, I 3Doodle a test piece to see how it will look and make adjustments where needed. This step can be repeated several times so that each part works perfectly.

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3D: Your technique is exceptionally neat, especially noticeable when looking at the detail on the vase. How do you achieve that uniformity?

GDP: Working with embroidery has given me an eye for detail. I’m used to looking at tiny stitches, which are less than a millimeter small. I’ve also developed a special technique for ensuring I’m as neat as possible… I had some custom circular pieces of glass cut in a variety of sizes. I tape the paper print out of the template to the back of it and 3Doodle directly onto the surface of the glass; this makes the plastic very smooth and flat. It keeps the template in good condition and the circle means that I can turn the design round to work at the best angle. I find it easier  to work from left to right across the design. If you’re working at an uncomfortable angle then the line can be wobbly.

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3D: The Peacock Hat you made for Maplin Electronics is really spectacular. What kind of time went into making each feather and overall assembly?

GDP: The actual making time of the hat was about 60 hours and all done in about a week! There were also a couple of days spent doing the initial designing. The hat was made up of three different size feathers, all with three colours in them. Each one varied from around 15-30 minutes to make.

This was the very first time I had used 3Doodler so I learnt a lot in a very short amount of time!

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Do you have any works in progress that you can tell us more about?

GDP: I’ve just finished a vase (see image below) that is totally waterproof. It’s made of multiple circular layers all joined together. It uses the same principle as a bracelet I previously made. I applied a layer of clear silicon to the inside surface to make it watertight. It’s functional and the clear plastic looks really beautiful through the water. I’m currently working on a lampshade design in two different colours. These will be on display with 3Doodler at this years London 3D Printshow.  The designs will use lots of different tonal colours creating a graduating  effect. I’m always getting new ideas for projects and there are still lots of techniques I’d like to try!

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If you would like to see more of Grace’s work please visit www.graceduprez.co.uk

And for news and updates follow her via Twitter Facebook and Instagram

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