Joan SmithAs a three year old, I was enjoying my life in the bush when I contracted polio in 1952. I then had to wear callipers during the day and slept in a full body splint every night until I turned sixteen. My feet and lower legs were bandaged into plasters before being buckled into the Thomas splint. While I longed to curl up in bed on my side, it soon became just a part of my everyday life; part of the bedtime and morning routine.

I have always loved working with fabrics, especially quilt making and embroidery. It began when I was a young child and Mum taught me to use her Singer treadle sewing machine. It was very good exercise for my legs as well as being a special treat. That experience is reflected in my choice of crazy patchwork and applique to show one of the ways I have turned my polio past into something creative.

Click here to learn about and read “The Calliper Kids” – a self-published book of eleven life journeys of polio survivors.

Please click on the picture below to see more photographs and a video of Joan’s “Touched by Polio” art work

Blooming Once More