They say a true artist is one that doesn’t create because they can; they create because they must. Rachel Julca is an artist of the latter persuasion.
‘Ever since I can remember I was always painting, drawing or making things. Being creative is like breathing for me,’ she said matter-of-factly.
Rachel grew up in the South of England, where she studied Art Foundation then Graphic Design, ‘thankfully my parents were happy for me to study art.’
‘To say I loved it is an understatement. I was fortunate to be offered a job straight from college and worked there happily for a year and unhappily for another year but the experience was invaluable,’ she said with a smile.
Rachel then had the opportunity to go with a Christian mission organisation called HCJB Radio to work in Quito, Ecuador. ‘It was Amazing! I was so inspired by the colours and patterns of the Ecuadorean culture. I gained so much with this experience of another culture and language and mixing with the worldwide international staff.’
She recalled a further experience in South America, working with the publishing company, ‘Ediciones Puma,’ in the capital city of Peru, Lima. ‘It was here I lived with a local family so HAD to learn Spanish!’
A few years later, after studying in Belfast, Rachel returned to Peru where she met her Peruvian husband. ‘We returned to Belfast and set up home here, where soon after I started my own business teaching arts and crafts and jewellery making in and around the city.’
‘We also have a beautiful daughter who is mostly Irish with some English/Peruvian (Her words!)
‘A couple of years ago I created a signature design which I recently trademarked.’
Rachel draws her colour from her travels. Her trademark design, rows of colourful houses, is also heavily infl uenced by the cultures she has experienced. ‘I think my style can relate to many a place in the world with rows of colourful houses,’ she explained.
Rachel now teaches art around Northern Ireland, one of her regular classes is in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, where she says her ‘Spanish has come in useful!’
She is, living proof that you are sure to have a plethora of experiences and inspiration if you step out into the world. Her experience of diverse cultures has converted her into an expert in the use of colour.
Rachel is currently busy making and promoting her textiles, pictures and other gifts. Locally, her work can be seen and purchased at various craft fairs, such as the Fine and Dandy Market at the Crescent Arts Centre.
And to top it off, she has also started a new initiative with The Welcome Organisation, sharing her talent with those affected by homelessness. She has taken on the role of ‘Project coordinator’ for the creative cooperative ‘Street Gems‘ that has been set up for the Organisation in Belfast.
The project aims to recognise and celebrate the talent of people affected by homelessness in a unique, positive and inspiring way, while teaching new skills in revamping furniture, textiles, making jewellery, ceramics and other crafts, aspiring to represent a positive approach to a topic that can often be negative.
Art is high up on the list of activities which are known to help boost self-esteem, confi dence and self-worth. It is also therapeutic in that it acts as an outlet to channel one’s feelings, frustrations, anger, but also hope and optimism for the future, encouraging engagement in other activities through a sense of personal satisfaction and self-accomplishment.
The concept of Rachel’s new venture is simple: helping introduce the creativity and talent of these individuals to a wider audience. In this way, they know that they are not alone in their personal path to recovery as the public can admire and celebrate their achievements together with them.