Julie Mate’s gorgeous handcrafted greeting cards are made with love – but their initial inspiration came from a place of both suffering and hope. The Seaham woman was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, and during the first year of treatment, she developed a life-threatening allergic reaction to the chemotherapy she was receiving.
Determined to keep her brain active throughout her recovery process, Julie channelled her energy into a passion for card making that she had dabbled in around ten years earlier with her daughter Bethany.
“During this time, I was blessed with inspiration and as therapy, designed the cards as an expression of my love to give to others. Hence the name, ‘Julie’s Love’,” she said.
“I feel that it is very important today that people are recognised and thought of with love, whether it be a birthday, special occasion or event, or special time of year.
“I also have specific cards and ranges targeted for different occasions and situations. My inspiration for these cards comes from events that happen in people’s lives and my own.
“All my cards and framed gifts are handmade, as well as being custom made, and I love that I can create a special memento that brings love and joy to others.”
While Julie works part-time as a School Learning Support Officer for special needs children, she devotes the rest of her week to Julie’s Love, using paper and DMC embroidery thread to create her simple yet elegant range of customised cards, which feature embellished cartoon drawings of people on them.
Aside from motivating her to get started with the card making, Julie’s battle with breast cancer has also inspired her latest range, ‘Inspirational YOU’, which she admits are her new favourites.
“The range is inspired as a result of my personal battle with breast cancer and speak of affirmations, self-belief and positivity,” she said.
“The clothes and headscarves are a light pink glitter. They also feature three different head styles. One is bald, as bald is beautiful; another wears a headscarf and another has hair, as not all chemotherapy treatments mean you lose your hair, so I have tried to cater for a variety of circumstances.
“The sixth card is being designed for those gentlemen who are also battling breast cancer. As we know, cancer does not discriminate between genders, and although it is not common, men also suffer from breast cancer.
“My cards and frames are my passion, and I get great enjoyment out of designing and making them.
“I hope to share my love through my cards and frames so that you too, can share your love with your loved ones.”
You can check out Julie’s range at this month’s Handmade in the Hunter Markets, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines from 9am to 3pm on April 4, 11+12 and 18.
COVID-19 Update: Handmade in the Hunter Markets have been cancelled for March + April amid health concerns. Please keep up to date via their Facebook Page.