⭐️ A PORTION OF ALL SALES DONATED TO NON-PROFIT MENTAL HEALTH ORGS⭐️

Written by Chad, the other half of the design team, my husband, and the youngest son of our newest collaborator, Artist Extraordinaire, Mama Jo Wheeler.

Welcome, Mama Jo, we are honored to feature your incredible work to support others in talking about mental health. Your work will surely get people talking!

Judy Wheeler preschoolplaygrounds Mama Jo's Corner
Mama Jo is Judy Wheeler. She's my mom. She was born on Christmas Day in 1944 at the end of WWII in Indianapolis and grew up in a house 5 blocks from where she now lives. She has been a maker for as long as I can remember. Creating things seemingly from nothing out of simple items we had around the house. She made things for her own enjoyment and project after project as a gift for someone she cared about. In 1984 she learned and perfected the art of Tole Painting and eventually opened her home to teach others how to develop their skills by offering 18-week instructional courses. There was never a shortage of materials to use when being encouraged to craft our imaginations.

When I asked her how many projects she has completed over the years, she said, "Probably about four. Now ask me how many projects I have started. Hundreds and hundreds...I have way too many hobbies". Admittedly, she will get bored with a project and put it down to start another one. "But crocheting is what I do when I'm thinking about what I'm going to do next," she said.

My grandmother taught my mother to create a single-stitch crochet chain when she was just a child. "Everything else I know how to do, I taught myself by studying the few books available on the subject. We didn't have YouTube to show us how to do things back then," she said, though she encourages YouTube as an excellent resource for beginners.

Over the years, she has progressed from crafting simple potholders as a child to manifesting the most intricate of garments in countless colors from a selection of thousands of single strands of yarn created worldwide.

She is fluent in the Japanese crochet art of Amigurumi, crafting 3-dimensional forms from a single strand of yarn and then sewn together, often to create small animals, dolls, or other toys. "We're called 'crochet artists,' you know," she reminded me.

Likely, any other artist working with any other medium would agree with Judy when she says that she is not a good judge of her own work, making it hard to know if "you really ever get out of it what you put into it."

"The stuff that I do, I do because it makes my heart happy. So maybe somebody can feel a little part of that if I share what I make with others."

Check out Mama Jo's Corner, the only place you can find her one-of-a-kind handmade items!