Showcasing the Arts


Nov. 2014 Featured Artist: Judy Geagley


Judy and Gordon Geagley at work 
    in their sewing room.Growing up, I was so inspired by my grandmother, who could take an old dress that no longer fit and turn it into a beautiful dress for my baby doll. I don't remember her buying store-bought fabric. She always “made do” with what she had. But I do remember how she could turn old clothing into a beautiful quilt. She was so encouraging and told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be, if I wanted it badly enough and worked hard. All I wanted to do was learn to sew like my mamaw. At the age of six, she taught me to sew. It was wonderful to use a piece of fabric from clothing, scissors, needle and thread to make a potholder or a toy cat. She taught me how to play, pretend and use my imagination. All of these things have created who I am today.

My husband Gordon and I make little critters from recycled sweaters and teddy bears from old quilts, fur coats, wool suits, feed sacks and anything we think would make a unique teddy bear. We design all of our patterns. I start cutting and playing with different shapes of fabrics, laying them out until it becomes a cute whimsical animal. We both enjoy creating from repurposed fabrics knowing how original each stuffed toy will be. It gives us great satisfaction to be able to save and repurpose this clothing that would otherwise end up in a landfill. There is so much waste in our world today, and we are trying to save it one piece at a time.

Gordon and I make a great team. We have an unspoken kind of working arrangement. We each know what to do without ever telling each other what to do. Gordon cuts out and sews on the industrial sewing machine. He cuts joints from hardboard and inserts them in the jointed teddy bears. He stuffs the teddy bears and little critters while I close the seams, stitch accents with embroidery floss, and make the facial features.

Our business was started by accident. I was a stay-at-home mom, making all of our clothing. I made our children stuffed animals from the scraps left from my sewing. One day while we were in town shopping, a lady saw the little stuffed animals I had made for the kids. She wanted to know where I bought those cute little animals. I replied, “I made it” and she asked me to make some little animals for her. It amazed me that people really wanted to buy my designs! We started exhibiting at local craft shows. In 1990, Gordon and I were accepted into the Kentucky Arts Council's Kentucky Crafted Program and it changed our world. Now our products are sold throughout the United States.

Judy and Gordon Geagley
Judy Geagley by Hand

546 Garrad Road
Tollesboro, Ky.

Telephone: 606-798-3901


Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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