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How Joy is turning her passion for card-making into a business

Joy Turvey is a master when it comes to the art of giving.

Joy, who lives in Adelaide, has been gifting her cotton-stitch cards to friends, family, and fellow community members for over 20 years. 

Last year, at the local annual Gawler Show, she even won first and second prizes for her card creations.

Joy is now thinking she will turn her talent into sales and sell her work: “I’m going to start selling the cards. Sometimes I pass them on because people are sick and I just want to give them a card. It’s a nice thing to give people
to cheer them up.”

Joy has an intellectual disability, and she finds it difficult to muster the confidence to be assertive and speak up for herself. This can mean she is, at times, vulnerable.

When it comes to her NDIS plan, Joy needs help in understanding the processes involved and accessing the supports available to her.

Currently, as she learns more about how she can advocate for herself, Joy is throwing herself wholeheartedly into the making of her cards – a craft she is dedicated to, as she knows it brings love and emotional support to others.

Creativity and a labour of love

Joy was first taught card-making 20 years ago by a woman who specialised in Christmas cards. The first card Joy made had festive Christmas candle on the front – she’ll never forget it, as it inspired her love of creating cards.

Joy found so much pleasure in her newfound craft that she decided to branch out and make cards to give to others all year round, not just during the festive season.

“I’ve been perfecting my work ever since. My work is very fine these days. I was very pumped with the Gawler show wins.”

Making the cards, Joy says, has boosted her confidence and helped her maintain a positive mindset.

“A lot of people over the years have received my cards. The one I’m looking at right now has an apricot rose in the middle.”

Joy listens to music at home while making the cards, and she currently aims to make one or two a week.

“One lady has three of my cards – I gave her the first one 16 years ago. And she shows them to other people. I’m extremely proud of my work, they’re extremely beautiful.”

Joy understands the importance of feeling appreciated, and the significance of knowing someone is thinking of you and cares about you.

“I can remember a time when receiving a card would have made me feel very special.

“My life has been very difficult, and I want to say thank you to all the people who have made my life so much more enjoyable.”

Joy enjoys attending a craft group at her local church each fortnight and has formed valued connections with a group see looks forward to seeing every couple of weeks.

“I love the craft group. They’re lovely people and I’ve made some really good friends there. They’ve helped me a lot.”

Joy’s Local Area Coordinator with Feros Care, Olivia Hoogenhout, says that with her supports and through her love of card making, Joy “now has a voice again”.

Olivia says Joy will be supported to sell her cards locally, including at the local markets.

Supporting growth and a love for life

Joy says that without her NDIS support workers, life would feel overwhelming.

Currently, support workers spend time with Joy seven days a week. This includes taking her to church on a Sunday and two hours on a Saturday for personal support.

On weekdays, support workers take Joy grocery shopping, help with the cleaning, and take her to medical appointments.

“There’s all sorts of bits and pieces they do for me.”

Joy’s support workers also help her with her gardening so she is able to make the most of her backyard and spending time outdoors.

“I’ve been growing tomatoes and I’m going to put some veggies out there, like spinach and peas. The ground is uneven so I’ll get some soil to get it even and get some buffalo grass. It’s going to be so lovely.”

She says the supports she’s receiving through her NDIS plan have been “just what I needed.”

“It’s been fantastic. They’re fantastic company too. They lift me up and make my whole day better … they make my whole life better.

“It’s great – I honestly believe if I didn’t have the supports I need, I don’t know what I’d be doing. It’s made me feel a lot better than I have for a long, long time.”

Friendship and a future to look forward to

Joy’s closest friend Fay has known Joy for more than 25 years and says she has seen not only Joy’s card creations “blossom”, but she has proudly noticed her once-shy friend gain more confidence in life.

She has watched as Joy has developed her skill from using a set centrepiece for each card, to making each card unique and personalised.

“I’m proud of her and seeing her getting awards at the local show just makes Joy more confident.

“Joy creates cards by thinking of a certain person and getting inspiration. She makes individual cards for people and it’s her way of showing she is thinking of them.

“It’s really unique and incredible how she can create cards just by thinking of a person.” 

Support provider All In Home Care Australia (AIHCA) Support Coordinator Christina Beccaris says it has been “incredible” to watch Joy’s emotional capacity increase and her sense of security extend over the past few months.

“We have worked with her to build her confidence in identifying what she does and equally importantly does not want,” Christina says.

“Her amazing skills have rubbed off onto some of her support team who have developed an equal passion for sewing and making these amazingly intricate little cards.

“Joy has so much potential and a brighter outlook on life as she has been supported to hand pick her own team of support and build awareness to her and her beautiful pooch Rosie and the life they want.”

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