Born in a log cabin on Coal Hollow Rd in Elliott County. KY.
I grew up roaming the hills looking for cows, chased chickens, run the cattle out of the corn, slopped the hogs, chopped kindling, built fires, got in the coal, gathered eggs, washed canning jars, hoed corn, chopped weeds, picked produce, strung beans, shucked corn, cooked on the old wood cook stove, kept tabs on siblings, swung on grapevines and always watched for snakes.
After raising a family, I wanted to have a home business, and was influenced greatly by my very successful cousin Minnie Adkins. She encouraged me to start whittling, and so I did, but, it took me 3 days to make my first piece a little black faced white sheep (which leaned sideways no matter how I whittled off the legs) I finished it in December of 2000, and she bought it for $5.
She showed my work to several collectors and Galleries, they started buying my work and I have been pretty busy ever since. I give Minnie Adkins full credit for helping me get started and keeping me motivated in this folk art way. Also to the Good Lord!
I try to make folk art cheerful and I hope it brightens the day of whoever sees it.
Jo Ann and her famous cousin Minnie Adkins
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