Photographs by Jim Graham
On a trip to Key West, Fla., Dina du Pont happened upon an old set of watercolors. Intrigued, she grabbed a brush. “I just started depicting what was around me,” says the Greenville, Del., artist.
Seems Du Pont had a natural talent for it. When her first child was born, she would set aside her palette for 17 years. Lately, though, she’s been creating striking watercolor, acrylic and ink paintings that range from fashion illustrations to landscapes to local equestrian events. Familiar landmarks like Greenville Country Club and Brandywine Valley churches, homes and gardens have also made their way into her work.
Born in Brittany, France, du Pont also has a penchant for depicting Parisian streets and shops. “It just puts me in a zone,” she says of painting. “It’s almost like meditating.”
Learning how to hand sew lace from her mother, du Pont began introduced scrunchies to her repertoire. “I love hair accessories,” she says. “I don’t know why—it’s a French thing, I think. In French markets, you always have little boutiques, and it’s all bows.”
So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, she transitioned to face masks. Du Pont quickly found a market for her fashionable coverings, which were initially intended for friends and family. Since launching her line in April, she’s sold roughly 1,000 masks through her online Etsy shop. Each is handmade in Delaware and features pretty and whimsical patterns akin to her painting style. Pastel and neon flowers, animal prints, and camouflage are among the offerings.
Created under the Poule label (inspired by a nickname from her parents), the lightweight masks are mostly made from William Morris and Liberty fabrics. Sourcing some vintage material, she’s also created custom masks for area residents, including one with a foxhunting scene. They’re available in three sizes (including one for children) and start at $10 each.