Woman Turns Specialized Helmets for Infants with 'Flat Head Syndrome' into Works of Art
There are many talented people in the world, but it is those who use their gifts to bless others that truly have something rare.
Take 62-year-old Paula Strawn, for example. The stay-at-home mom and now grandma has loved art since she can remember.
“I have always been an artist,” Strawn told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “I was a stay at home home mom of four kids, all adults now. I painted for our home, for friends, then friends of friends, then commissions.”
But it wasn’t until a friend approached her years ago with a special request that Strawn discovered what is clearly her calling in life.
“One day Kathy Everett, my younger daughter’s first grade teacher, showed up at my home with her daughter and granddaughter who was wearing a helmet,” Strawn said. “I’d never seen one before.”
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this before and after photo has gone around the world a few times and appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites etc in many many my countries! the next photo is of that same boy super cute now 5 years old ? #motorcyclehelmet #aviator #plagiocephaly #hanger#docband#Bostonband #starband#baby #craniocap #craniosynostosis #cranialbanddecoration #cranialbabyhelmetpainting #cranialband #cranialbandart #cranialbanddecoration #babybanddecorations #babyhelmetpainting
The helmet Strawn is referring to is primarily used to correct a condition that affects half of all infants, according to PEOPLE — cranial plagiocephaly, more commonly referred to as “flat head syndrome.”
Everett asked Strawn to paint the helmet, which is generally plain white. From there, the business Strawn never expected to own took off.
The talented artist told Liftable that it was word-of-mouth that started it all. “I thought this would be just one more thing I painted, but soon I was painting for babies all over Southern California, then all over California then all over the U.S.!” Strawn said.
Now the grandmother lives in Washington where she moved to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She has been painting the helmets for 15 years, and has painted over 3,000 to date, according to PEOPLE.
“Art speaks to people’s experiences,” Strawn told ABC Action News. “It allows people to see a little bit into somebody else’s experience.”
“I feel blessed beyond all belief to be doing this work,” Strawn told PEOPLE. “Helping others and bringing tons of smiles to babies. Looking back on my life, I feel that I was led to do this. It feels more like a calling than a job.”
“I hear from parents all the time about what a difference the painted helmet makes!” she went on in her interview with Liftable. “From pity and looking away or ‘oh poor baby’ to ‘oh my gosh how cute!'”
She even added that some of her mom clients have shared with her that they feel “a little sad when the helmet time is over … they are used to having their baby get lots of fun attention.”
Strawn’s unique and eye-catching designs include pretty much anything and everything a parent could want for their child, from Captain America and aviator helmets to pretty pink floral designs and Power Rangers. The artist says her most requested are the aviator helmets for both boys and girls.
“I LOVE painting these helmets that bring happiness and joy and smiles to babies and families,” she said. “I really do have the best job ever!”
Do you know a family who would love to have one of Strawn’s designs? Visit her on Instagram or SmugMug to view all she has to offer.
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