What do you do when you get to chat to someone who is, at the same time, an industry veteran, a reader favourite, and a crafting hero in the PaperCrafter office? You start with the basics. When did Julie Hickey first fall in love with crafting? “Almost 30 years ago I was at a craft fair, and I saw a demonstrator called Terri heat embossing. I watched her work her magic, and asked her to do it again; after several more requests, I was hooked! It was a wow moment and I knew I wanted to create from then. To this day, every time I ink up a stamp, sprinkle on powder, add some heat and then watch the magic unfold, it still manages to make my heart sing.”
After starting in secretarial work and then transitioning to various roles in the world of crafts, Julie faced a moment of reckoning in 2018 after being let go from Craftwork Cards. Luckily, it was the start of greater things. “I formed a partnership with my good friends Paula and Geoff Baughan, and launched my own brand of stamps and dies under Julie Hickey Designs. We’ve gone from strength to strength with TV shows on Hochanda, expanding our UK trade accounts, getting our products into stores in both America and Australia – who knows what’s next!”
One thing that’s remained constant throughout is Julie’s passion – she reflected on how much crafting has meant to her during lockdown. “It’s really helped me to stop worrying about things, to get engrossed in something. I started offering online workshops and received so many messages saying how much people enjoy them and how they’re bringing the crafting community together. It’s a wonderful, positive community sharing their crafting passion together.”
“No matter what, I always make sure to sneak into my craft room for a session. I aim to do something creative every day”
In a time where our craft supplies are more essential than ever, we thought we’d get the lowdown on what Julie Hickey holds nearest and dearest in terms of tools. “My stamping press. I can’t tell you the amount of cards I’ve spoiled because I stamped something wonky. Now I can just put my card back in the press and stamp again. It’s a total game changer, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I swear by my guillotine, which is a must for straight cutting. And maybe my most used toy is my pokey tool – I use it every time I craft, to curl and shape petals on flowers, to pick out 3D foam pads from the backing sheets, to remove backing paper from double-sided tape, to position adhesive gems, to pierce holes in projects, to pop pieces out of my dies. I don’t think I have ever had a crafting session and not picked it up.”
Our daily schedules have become more important than ever, and Julie has a wonderfully regimented way of keeping things new and exciting, while honouring rituals that won’t ever change. “Before anything else – a cup of tea. Then I post some inspiration on social media. I check the website for orders, and plan the day out with Paula at our lovely countryside office. At some point in the day, no matter what, I always make sure to sneak into my craft room for a session. Whether it’s a few inky backgrounds, stamping out new designs or maybe even sketching out ideas. I aim to do something creative every day.”
For details of Julie’s online workshops and where to find her products, head to sweethunidesigns.com.