Her Encore is Letting Her Creative Spirit Flourish
When Georgia Mayfield Farr was born inside the very home where she would spend her first few years, her father referred to the moment as how “I was dinner on a Sunday afternoon.”
From such a poetic beginning, Georgia would grow into a woman whose artistic talents took root, but only flourished later, when she launched a home business that provides beautiful pieces of “wearable art” that are truly one-of-a-kind.
A native of Mississippi, Georgia moved to Michigan with her parents and four siblings to follow relatives who already had re-settled here.
While in elementary school, she typically drew pictures that were different from all the others. “What sticks out in my mind is a horse that I drew, and I put red shoes on it. My two older sisters laughed at it, and that kind of shamed me, so I stopped drawing for a while.”
Instead, she retreated some and began playing with her dolls, but was inspired to make clothes for them from scratch, and without any direction. “I didn’t know how to sew, had never seen it done before, and my mother didn’t sew, so basically, I was making tubes.”
While in seventh grade, however – and while attending South High School here during the 1960s - Georgia did take sewing classes, which would especially come in handy down the road.
After graduating from South in 1968, she enrolled at Davenport University, then Albion College, and after moving to the East Coast and raising a family, earned a degree in human and family resources from the University of Delaware, “exactly 20 years after graduating from high school.”
Georgia opened a daycare business in her home, and after moving back to Grand Rapids, worked for a handful of organizations as an outreach specialist, including the YWCA and Kent County Health Department. In 2015, she retired from a decade of service to the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, a network of area hospitals, health care systems, physicians and researchers collaborating to provide cancer education and access to new and unique clinical trials to men and women fighting cancer.
Throughout her early adult life, Georgia pursued sewing only as a hobby, but in 1992, she realized “this was an entire industry, and another whole world where I could really do something that challenged my creativity.” Her epiphany occurred after her son asked for a new lining for his jean jacket, and she was inspired to create a work of art culled from some fabric samples given to her by local artist George Bayard.
From there, she began to create vests and jackets and more. Eventually, “Creations by Georgia” took hold, a home-based business “specializing in uniquely designed handmade garments of wearable art.”
She fell in love with Afro-centric fabrics reflecting especially the artistic culture of Kenya, and while continuing to contribute to community organizations in Grand Rapids, she turned out stunning original garments that bear her unique touch.
“I’ll never duplicate a piece I already made,” she says, noting that when someone asks her to render an article of clothing like they’ve seen her make for a friend, she insists on making it unique to that person.
Her work isn’t just something you wear, as her creations also have been displayed in ArtPrize 2010, and in area galleries.
Her home is dedicated to the creative process. Two bedrooms serve as workspace, and the basement houses a heavy-duty sewing machine for special projects. Her dining room, meanwhile “is my showroom.”
Today, Georgia’s handiwork extends to creating everything from jackets to quilts to wedding gowns. “I make everything by hand,” she says, and isn’t shy about taking a standard pattern and “going off script, because once I start handling the fabric, it takes me somewhere else. Even a collar can become something entirely different.”
Georgia says that people have told her they “know” when they’ve spotted something she’s made, because it has “her certain touch.” And if they want to confirm it’s hers, all they have to do is search for a tag she places on each piece she creates, which informs that it is indeed a “Creation by Georgia.”
Of the work she performs – and in response to the influence it has on those who own one of her garments -- Georgia smiles and says, “This is my love.”
To learn more about Georgia’s creations, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (616) 570-8895 to make an appointment.