Artists ~ Julie DeRosa ~ Pawtucket

Artist’s name: Julie DeRosa
Shop name: Sacred Relic Studio

1. Tell us about your work
I like to call the assemblages that I make ‘shrines’. Typically, I will use found and recycled materials as well as create one or more of my own elements for the pieces using a molding and casting process with resin. Each resin piece that I create is hand sanded, given a coat of primer then hand painted and sealed with polyurethane to protect the finish. Most of my themes seem to revolve around personal transformation. Using discarded materials and adding elements (relics) created by me, my pieces speak to creating and holding onto hope, which is to me, sacred. This expression has been a very real and tangible means of living with a mental illness with grace. My greatest desire is that my work conveys hope and healing to anyone who chooses to bring the work into their home.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
Since I create multiple components in each piece requiring attention to detail, I have to concentrate and focus. These are quiet times for me when I can be in my solitude and a wonderful sort of alchemy happens, and an almost sacred hush in my soul occurs when creativity and quiet mingle. It is as if, at these times, I am finally at home with myself.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I have always been creative; writing poetry, keeping art journals, painting…When my art journals started to become bulkier and harder to close because of the kinds of things I was trying to put in them, I decided that it was time to try a different format. I had no woodworking skills, could barely use a drill, and had no experience whatsoever in this type of design. I just knew I wanted to do it. I had a lot of help along the way, and when I started making these shrines and giving them away as gifts, many people suggested that I sell them. So, that was how I ended up here.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in nature, spirituality, and religious imagery. Faith and hope are important to me and through each creation I attempt to convey that hope to the viewer.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
One of my favorite things to create is something I have come to term “Survivor Shrines’. These shrines celebrate each of us, as I believe that we have all survived something and need to remind ourselves of the fact that we overcame. I never make the exact same Survivor Shrine; I do variations and make custom pieces for interested individuals; for themselves or to give as gifts. While making these particular shrines, I love to imagine the person who will receive them and it gives me great joy to be able to create something to remind them to be proud of themselves.

6. What’s your best seller?
Since each piece that I create is unique and individual, I do not have a particular “best seller””, however any shrine that I make with a Buddha in it never stays around very long.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
My husband and I moved here in 2003 from the South Eastern Pennsylvania area. I had previously lived here from 1992 to 1995, however, so I wasn't completely “green”!

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I am a person who finds great comfort being near water, so that is probably the thing that I {heart} best about Rhode Island.

9. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! They are the best teachers!!!!

10. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Please come by to visit my Facebook page, my Pinterest, and my ETSY shop. I try to keep them all updated frequently. I am currently working on a new website (separate from ETSY) so keep your eyes open for news on that! Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!


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