top of page

about the broom maker

I grew up in South Dakota in a small farming community, and after college, moved to Minnesota where I lived for eighteen years.  I moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in 1996, and continue to reside in Des Moines today.  


My greatest influencer was my Grandma - she was exceptionally talented, humble and loving, a devout Christian, demonstrated a persevering character doubtlessly induced from surviving the Great Depression and losing her mother at the age of seven, and my biggest cheerleader.  I am ever-so-grateful for all of the support she provided me not only as a child and youth, but as an adult.  She was my advocate when times were challenging, and I will always be beholden to her, and do my best to pay it forward.  She passed in 1998, but continues to motivate me today, to strive to be a better person, to follow my passions.  

I am first and foremost an environmentalist, holding myself accountable to sustainability principles that circumvent compromising the future for generations to come.  I can still visualize my Grandma toiling over a treadle sewing machine, creating a dress for a 5-year old me - using a discarded adult-sized dress to make me something fabulous.

My Mom followed in my Grandma's footsteps, an absolutely talented seamstress who creates beautiful products out of discarded items, and I have a multitude of pictures where my Mom had taken adult coats and dresses, and created beautiful garments for a young me.  I have saved Barbie doll dresses that were made out of my Dad's socks - and they are treasured and beautiful.  My Grandma and my Mom demonstrated that upcycling was a principal means to provide for their families.  I observed sustainable and upcycling fundamentals at a young age, and I continue to strive to apply those same principles today because I prefer to find a means to reuse then pollute our planet and add to the ever growing landfills.


I am an ever-evolving artisan, and in this instance, creator of utilitarian broomcorn brooms and Tampico brush ware, utilizing craftsmanship techniques derived from our forefathers.  While I strive to maintain folk craft aesthetics and function in my creations, I also appreciate pushing the boundaries of traditional artisanship.  While this craft has a very long history, I'm not afraid to add modern aesthetics with some bewitching charm, including color and visually appealing organic materials.

I am a keeper of bees, and a manager of honey, and other products from the hive.  My husband and I took up beekeeping  in 2015 to give back to Mother Nature, and all of the pollinators.  I am enamored with the Monarch butterfly, and know that whatever I do to sustain and promote my honey bees, I also sustain and promote the Monarch butterfly, and all of the pollinators in my ecosystem.  Visit our sister site - - to view all of the marvelous products our bees produce each year!

I believe hand-crafted products, and people who take the time to learn a craft, can leave lasting impressions for a lifetime, just like my Grandma and Mom influenced me.  It delights me to consider that something I create could bring joy to others for generations to come.   If you choose to try a broom or a brush, my wish for you is that it serves you well and brings you enjoyment for decades to come.

Val Just

bottom of page