Icelandic Ponies hand-sews one-of-a-kind bags and apparel to order, right here in Morgantown.
Dani Martin sewed her first dress back in high school. “It didn’t turn out very good,” she laughs. “I don’t think I even wore it.”
Years later, after graduate school in Oregon, she moved to Morgantown to work as a forest pathologist. She and a couple friends would get together for weekly sewing nights. Her friends were more skilled than she was, and she learned. Posting photos of her pieces on social media brought requests, and that just kept happening. And happening. And she enjoyed it.
“Now I sew more than my friends do,” Martin says—and she sells her distinctive pieces under the name Icelandic Ponies.
Martin makes cross-body bags, purses, and other styles of bags plus hoodies, dresses, and more of her own design. She pieces solids, prints, and textures together in interesting ways. Fabrics inspire her. “I like bright colors with interesting prints,” she says. “I’ll order a bunch of fabric, and sometimes I’ll just lay it out on my cutting mat and put colors next to each other and see what looks good. It kind of comes to life on its own—once I put it on the cutting mat, I can see what fits and what works together.”
Martin’s hoodies were pretty basic at first, she says. But looking at other artists’ work and adding her own spin, she’s come to an eye-catching design with cozy touches like thumb holes and a cowl neck hood
You’ll find Martin selling her work at artisan markets. But she most likes doing custom work—for herself, for a friend, or for hire. “I can put more soul into it,” she says.