Art and design can be seen and accomplished in so many ways. When you add in a physical difference, it gives more perspective and it doesn’t have to prevent you from doing your best. It might actually mean you do it even better!
That’s what we’ve learned in our years of knowing Tammy Haddix. She’s a Hallmark Keepsake Master Artist who was born with one hand. Jordan and I had a chance to meet her for the first time back in 2014. Since that visit, we’ve talked to Tammy many times but we haven’t had a chance to see her. We were lucky to fix that over a weekend in July.
Born Just Right teamed up with Hanger Prosthetics to hold a two-day fun weekend to celebrate Camp No Limit with kids from the Kansas City area. The first night gave us a chance to sweat it out to a 10th inning win at the Kansas City Royals game. The next morning, the families had a chance to have fun at Hallmark’s Kaleidoscope. After we all ran around making fun crafts and playing with lights and shadows, we all had a chance to hear Tammy’s story during a visit to the Hallmark Visitors Center.
Tammy grew up in the Kansas City area and has worked at Hallmark since 1988. She moved into the Keepsake team in 1996 and was recently promoted to master artist. She’s created so many fabulous ornaments. Many depict happy scenes with snowmen. And the best part? They’re super glittery. Jordan and Tammy declared they were glitter friends back when they met three years ago. Now that Jordan has Project Unicorn, that glitter relationship is even stronger.
Tammy shared how scenes from her life are often depicted in her artwork and it was so neat to see her share photos from her life through the years. She also explained how she gets the job done. She sculpts with wax and it can be super messy with one hand. Tammy has a work apron that contains the mess! The kids and adults got to touch and admire a whole pile of her ornaments. I especially liked seeing what her prototype ornaments look like when compared to the final product.
Another special experience was getting a chance to talk to Tammy about an ornament kit set that Hallmark started selling last year. It’s based on a gift Tammy gave Jordan during their last visit… A special hand-made collection of snowman parts. Jordan was able to make her own ornaments! Now everyone can make their own special Tammy ornaments. That’s pretty darn special.
In Born Just Right’s quest to show kids and adults how a physical difference is an advantage and can bring more art and perspective into your life, I think Tammy is an amazing art mentor to look up to. I’m beyond honored to have her in our lives and even more thrilled she could share her world with so many other kids this summer.
Big thanks to Tammy for sharing her artistic spirit, wisdom, and time with us, Hallmark for opening its doors and coordinating with us, and Hanger for supporting a fun weekend event.