The Maine coast missed most of Hurricane Florence, but she did send an unseasonably warm breeze our way on Saturday morning. As Jody Halliday and I chatted that morning, the strong yet temperate wind tumbled through the surf and trees creating textures and patterns, all unique, not unlike the creations that come out of Jody’s small but focused Peaks Island home and fiber studio.
On her porch, a space for meditation and creation, sits an 8 foot table decorated by many of her sewing accoutrements, including a toy sewing machine that has been passed through the family from her mother and grandmother before her. Each island day is a precious combination of work, play, and exercise that is well deserved after a dedicated career as a middle school English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Though Jody has only officially been in business for 10 years creating wearable art pieces, her passion for fiber and texture began early in life. Her first memories are tactile in nature, including the feeling of the soft, yet coarse horsehair seats in her Grandpa’s ‘56 Chevrolet.
It’s no surprise that a woman raised in a family of seamstresses who possessed a self-driven fondness for ancient civilizations would end up traveling to Egypt, Morocco, Italy and beyond, picking up little treasures to use as finishing touches, little things of interest on her one of a kind bags and coats that serve as fashionable, intriguing, and functional pieces of wearable art; but the mightiness these pieces muster is remarkable.
Jody’s pieces are constructed from fine fabrics in a variety of tones from warm to bold. Each coat and bag has a name that compliments her individual style. The new, in progress Elizabeth coat is a lush, royal purple. The Kenzington coat is a unisex style garment featuring cool blues and a stunning tuxedo collar, the Bella coat is sewn from fine Italian linen in warm, earthy tones; and the Coco Chanel, in blacks, whites, and a touch of red is classic in its elegance. Her Connie bag, one of her most popular creations, is a 6” diameter, cross-body bag constructed in a variety of colors and textured, lined in linen, and closed with an artifact or a gathered “something of interest.”
Jody’s coats are incredible, hand-crafted pieces of power apparel. The women who purchase these pieces are the type to command a crowd from anywhere, whether behind a clipboard or a podium. Casting the same genteel authority as the renowned, classic women’s “blue suit,” these coat wielding women show they are coming to the table to solve whatever problems require solving, in a creative and inventive way. Her clients are self-made women who lead interesting and resourceful lives. They aren’t kids anymore, and they aren’t afraid to think (and wear) outside of the box.
See Jody’s breathtaking pieces of wearable art on display (and available for purchase) at Maine Craft Portland [link].
Visit Jody’s website here (http://www.jodyhalliday.com) for more information about her craft and process, and join her on Facebook and Instagram for updates about new and exciting wearable art!