Jo Wolfe was born in Indiana to Kentucky parents. At age 15, she came to Kentucky on a percussion scholarship to attend the Foster Music Camp at Eastern Kentucky University – playing the snare and timpani. She received her BA degree in anthropology with a chemistry minor which landed her a job at the University of Kentucky in a research lab. While doing lab work, Jo became interested in the ginseng plant and eventually began working on a Ginseng field study which she continues today.
Jo says she has always been interested in fabric and was taught to sew by her grandmother. Everyone in her fathers’ family knew how to sew and Jo eventually learning tailoring while in 4-H.
After college, and working at UK for a number of years, Jo married and moved to Monticello, KY. Here she raised her children, and began working with an artist Mary Glenn - who made leather hats. Mary encouraged Jo to try to make hats as well – out of fabric. At that time, Jo had been doing repair and special custom sewing for clients and in 1973 decided to start making hats from old blue jeans. She soon found that her hats were in demand and she branched out to create hats from re-cycled fabrics. Jo eventually began making reversible hats to utilize and exploit variations in color as well as fabrics.
Works by Jo Wolfe can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.