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Meet JoAnne, jewelry artist

JoAnne Brooks

JoAnne Brooks, jewelry designer

We needed a hope and a prayer to think we’d find six open seats on a Saturday night in the bar at the Girl and the Fig in downtown Sonoma. Friends were gathering to celebrate two Pisces birthdays in the group and it seemed like a great idea to meet for cocktails before dinner.

It took a little bit of a wait but we gathered around the end of the longest table in the bar to enjoy some birthday cheer. As we were finishing our cocktails we noticed a couple eyeing our seats just as we had done forty-five minutes earlier. Someone from our group got up to pay the tab and we encouraged the woman standing close to us to sit down and claim the spot before it got away from her.

Accessories have a way of opening a conversation and hers did just that. Several people in our party at once noticed her necklace and asked about it. “I design jewelry,” she said. “These are my designs.” We started asking her about the materials she used: copper, beads, semiprecious stones. John commented on her use of copper and she wanted us to get a closer look at her bracelet.

That must have been when she mentioned that she had polio because she slipped her left foot out of a sandal and brought it up to her wrist. She used her big toe to separate the copper cuff from her wrist and slipped it to the table’s edge. Then she leaned over and took her left hand and gripped the cuff. I then took it from her to examine it and try it on.

Her name is JoAnne Brooks and she’s been designing jewelry for the last seven years. She has use of her left hand and her foot and that’s how she creates her one-of-a-kind pieces. One of the people at our table said, “Have you been on TV? I think I’ve seen you on TV!”

“Yes,” she said. “If you google my name and the word polio you’ll see some clips.”

She’s from Texas but now lives in Pacifica. She invited us to come and have a jewelry party. She’d provide the jewelry and we could bring the wine.

Her passion for jewelry is so pure, her spirit so buoyant, truly a one-of-a-kind woman — just like her jewelry.




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