Best of KC: Handmade Brooms Fashioned from Missouri River Driftwood and Walnut Shells

Photo by Caleb Condit and rebecca Norden

An everyday kitchen broom may seem like an average cleaning tool, but look into its past a little further and unleash a world of rich history. This is what made Amanda Lee ( fall in love with the craft of broom making and become the city’s only broomsquire. 

In a cozy studio she built from the ground up on Virginia Avenue in KCMO, Lee spends her days dedicated to the many steps that go into creating a handmade broom. She cures found driftwood from the banks of the Missouri River to make broomsticks and dyes a fiber called broom corn with walnut shells to make the brush. 

Unlike plastic brooms, Lee’s handmade creations are compostable and recyclable. Because she works so hard to create quality broomsticks, they can be reused while only replacing the brush at the bottom. With all the thought that goes into these beautiful brooms, they can make great gifts for housewarming parties, weddings or even your grandmother’s birthday. “As a woman, I sort of ran from anything that looked like domesticity,” Lee says. “I was like ‘Oh, hell no, that is not for me.’ To arrive somewhere in my life where the job that I’ve built for myself is making brooms, which in and of itself is inherently domestic, is really powerful and is really healing.”

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