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Figgyduff Dory: wearable celebrations of small town Newfoundland

in Arts & Culture/Business by

Figgy Duff is a pudding made of molasses found right in the middle of a traditional Newfoundland Jigg’s dinner, as well as a local folk rock band. While, Dory is a fishing boat and one letter away from Janalyn Petten’s mom’s maiden name.

The two words combined make Figgyduff Dory, Petten’s own interpretation of the inspiration she finds surrounding her.

It’s a online clothing company ran out of Port de Grave, which Petten operates on her own. It features artistic graphics backed by well-known Newfoundland sayings, rural NL town, familiar landmarks and wordplay. 

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“I’ve been sketching clothing since I was about 12-years-and I’ve always been obsessed with graphic tees. I was a total sucker for the t-shirt section at Bluenotes back in the day,” explained the founder through e-mail. “For Christmas 2013, I decided I wanted to give everyone on my list something homemade. So I bought a screenprinting kit and tried it out. I really, really loved it, and decided to see where it could go.”

The artist grew up in rural Newfoundland and felt compelled to include pieces of the island into her work. Influenced directly from the land, tradition, folklore and history, the province has been the template for Figgyduff Dory.

“My ideas mainly come from life in this province: the words we use, the towns we live in, the foods we eat, the traditional songs we sing,” explained Petten. “I am very fond of this province’s small communities. I also love being inspired by the words and phrases we use. I guess this is my way of helping to keep them alive.”

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Petten creates all the designs on her own, different shaped drawings and font give a whole new life to the familiar words of Newfoundland. Like the cheeky play on words in the “Bonavista Bae” tee or the  “Brigis is always a good idea” tee lined carefully with blueberries.

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When she first started, she printed each piece herself. As things picked up, Petten began contracting local businesses to help with the heavy load, while also producing from her own machine.

Needless to say, the reaction to FiggyDuff Dory has been received with many open arms and sometimes great laughs, especially when someone reads a “One, Two, Tree” onesie.

Most Newfoundlanders can easily spot a Figgyduff Dory Tee or two as they scroll through their personal social media. Spotting her own work is still a vision that surprises Petten.

“It’s absolutely an incredible feeling, one that still throws me off guard a little every time,” she said. “I remember the first time I saw a stranger wearing a Figgyduff Dory tee in public. I was at a Johnny Reid concert with my mom and my 2 sisters and there was a gentlemen a couple sections over wearing an ‘I’se Da B’y” tee.”

Similar Newfoundland sayings can be found through a variety of design pieces for purchase online. Toques staying “Froze ta det” and unisex Tees featuring “Don’t be talking,” common sayings that only a true Newfoundlander can explain. 

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Most customers order from the Figgyduff Dory site but Petten’s clothing is featured at some retail venues, and she tries to attend local fairs.

“A handful of local retailers that carry some of the products: Ethereal Boutique and the Heritage Shops, as well as the Baccalieu Trail Pharmacies in South River and Spaniard’s Bay. My goal for 2019 is to add a couple more retailers to that list, hopefully outside the Avalon Peninsula.”

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Petten has ordered some new winter designs and says to expect to see some crewnecks in the near future, while she has some spring designs ready to go.

For a unique piece of home, with an artistic twist in the sayings we all love and use, check our Figgyduff Dory online.

 

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