Grace DuVal is an independent fashion designer, photographer, and wearable artist. She is currently living in Chicago, IL where she is working on her master's degree in Fashion, Body and Garment at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
This blog is an account of her creations and life adventures. All content and images © Grace DuVal unless otherwise stated.
First shot of the wedding weekend. I am the master pro of sticking cameras on rocks with self-timers and hoping for the best.

First shot of the wedding weekend. I am the master pro of sticking cameras on rocks with self-timers and hoping for the best.

The bed photography on the hillside on a late, sticky August evening left us hot and ready for the river. That’s the beautiful part of where we live, that we can throw on our suits and be in the water within five minutes. So on the bathing suits went, and with bare feet and towels we walked down the hill and over the railroad tracks on a path that has always been so familiar to me. It has been a path I have trekked for most of my life, excitedly tiptoeing over gravel towards the sweet relief of the river.

In the later afternoon of my birthday I went over to Sally and David’s house while my mom went to rehearsals for Spring Awakening. David is a beautiful woodworker who has made most of the objects and furniture in their house. Recently he made a series of beds from one curving log, which he wanted them photographed for his own documentation.

Sally and David happen to live on a staggeringly idyllic hill overlooking the valley of the James River, mountain views at every turn. When I heard that David wanted his bed photographed I immediately imagined it sitting on the hillside with the mountains behind it. Luckily the Biddles are an exceptionally accommodating family more than willing to participate in my wild and wacky schemes. 

And so on a hot and sticky Virginia evening we all dismantled the bed and moved it, piece by piece, out onto the hillside. We were all in full-blown photoshoot mode, with Sally on ironing duty to get pesky wrinkles out of pillowcases, David helping me to style the shoot, Amy and Tucker on duty as bed rotators as I decided what angles I wanted. Sally provided fresh flowers from the garden, and even the cat got in on the action (with a little coaxing and distraction by Amy).

I love the Biddles because they are so willing to follow my ideas, because getting hot and sweaty for the sake of photographs sounds like a perfectly great way to spend a Tuesday evening to them. We had a great time shooting, and at the end they even let Amy jump on the bed, which is perhaps the best possible way to fulfill those childhood dreams.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my house. My mom always put a massive amount of effort into my party, staying up late the night before to cover the house in decorations based on whatever theme I had chosen for the year. It was like Christmas in August, waking up on my birthday morning. The years have passed, and though I’ve gotten much older, my mom has never stopped indulging in fun parties and decorations.

Birthday tiaras are always essential in our house.

I woke up on my birthday to unexpected visitors in the form of William and Libby who had stopped by on their way to North Carolina. It was such a surprise to see them both, but a nostalgic and fun way to start off the morning as we sat around the kitchen swapping stories about Montana and Ireland and Tate.

After they left we had some present opening before Amy, Sally, David, and Tucker all showed up for birthday brunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent around the table eating delicious food cooked by mom, telling stories, and devouring an ice cream cake.

These are my closest family, the people I miss the most when I’m out traveling the world, and it was an excellent way to spend a birthday afternoon.