Handmade is definitely a restrictive term. In the case of Texan Jo Anne Brooks, it should also include footmade. Her one of a kind statement jewelry, some of which are shown on her website, Jo Anne Brooks Jewelry are made mostly with her feet and her one good hand!
Polio at age 4 initially paralyzed both arms but while her left hand is now mostly unaffected, Jo Anne is unable to use her entire right arm. That was back in 1962, one of the few remaining cases after the huge success of the polio vaccines in the 1950's.
Her paralysis did not stop her from leading a normal life with a loving family. She played and fought with her sisters as siblings are wont to do. She explained, "My parents made me do chores, study for school and be accountable for my actions without ever letting me use the fact that my arms didn’t work as reason not to do something." Not treating her any differently from the other children fostered a life long can do spirit.
Jo Anne grew up, got married and raised two children. A few years ago, she retired after a 30 year career as a probation officer. Rather than sit in front of the tv, she found a new passion in making jewelry.
She credits her creativity to her mother who is an accomplished artist. Her bold and sometimes colorful designs are unique. She sells them at craft shows, in shops and online. Jo Anne also does workshops so do contact her for information if you are interested.
Check out this news video by the Texas Country Reporter which shows how Jo Anne manages to create her jewelry. She uses one foot to lift and steady her semi-functional left hand. But a lot of the tool manipulation is done with her feet.
Post polio syndrome is now slowly robbing her of the use of her remaining good muscles. But Jo Anne is determined to live life to the fullest and do the things she loves doing for as long as possible.
Inspirational has just got to be Jo Anne's middle name! And in more ways than one.
Before You Go:
- Jewelry for Hearing Aids (by a very young entrepreneur)
- Designer Drug Jewelry - Turning Leftover Medication into Adornment
- Bedazzled Eye Patches - For Fashion and For a Cause
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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