I first met Julious in 2016 when he was working for a weaving group that Bee had discovered on a prior trip to Kenya. The night before our meeting there had been a huge thunderstorm. The dogs and hyraxes were going crazy outside as the wind lashed through the tropical vegetation surrounding my guest house in Karen (a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Nairobi). I found myself wide awake at 3am and started scribbling down ideas by the light of my phone. The next morning I awoke surrounded by sharpies and sheets of paper and decided to take one of them to show the new weaver I was meeting that day. Julious's eyes sparkled when he saw the brightly coloured felt tip dog drawing, he carefully took the design from me and said, "I can do this!" When I went back a week later he proudly showed me what he'd made. It was perfect. Julious is still weaving for us five years later and his enthusiasm for new challenges - the more weird and wonderful the better - never ceases. We just received a lovely new order of rugs from Julious and so I wanted to take the opportunity to find out a little more about his life, family and inspiration.
Amy: How did you get into rug weaving?
Julious: After completing my primary education my parents had no fee for me to continue in secondary education so I traveled from countryside to Nairobi as a house boy which was child labor, but I thank God the employer connected me with an institution which was offering Pottery, Weaving and Agriculture for free and when they told me to choose I chose weaving and that is how I entered into weaving and lived with my late sister while learning.
Amy: Wow that's quite a journey, what do you love most about your job now?
Julious: I love the creativity part when I get a challenging design and execute it well. I love when my clients are happy with my work. I love the most challenging designs
Amy: You obviously have a real passion for your art, what keeps you going and provides you with fresh inspiration
Julious: As a Christian I read the bible and I see how God recognises people with talents and how they used those talents to the glory of God, such as Paul the tent maker, Dorcas.
Amy: And what does running your own business mean to you and your family?
Julious: It is relieving to be in charge, it means working harder. We do all as a family we put all our strength there because we depends solely on it for our financial needs.
Amy: Covid-19 has massively impacted businesses here in the UK even with government support which I know you have not had in Kenya. How has the pandemic affected your business and what is the current situation there in Kenya?
Julious: First of all I must say a big thank you to Artisans & Adventurers for coming through for us at the beginning of the pandemic and gave us business that took us for some months. However the effects has been dire. Though we haven't gone without food we have arrears of the house rent nearing 50,000 Kenya shillings because we haven't had enough work to sustain us. We have not given up though we believe things will look up again. The Kenyan government response has been dismal and many businesses are going down, they are opening the country but the numbers are going up. We have kept faith alive and prayed together as a family.
Amy: It's been our absolute pleasure to continue to support your work Julious as we love everything you make for us. Can you tell us what your favourite design is to make for Artisans & Adventurers?
Julious: 😁😁😁😁 The hardest of all questions finally... I want to say I love them all in equal measure. The Dog, the Cat, Mamba, Geo's all of them are interesting to do..
Aww thank you so much! The Dog rug is the first design we worked on together and will always retain a special place for me although I love absolutely everything you make!
Amy: Finally what are your future plans and dreams for your business and your family?
Julious: Currently I haven't established a decent workshop due to poor inflow of orders, I would like to expand the marketing by exploring online marketing and once I am able to have flowing orders I will establish a standard workshop and invest in other artistry to complement the weaving I am doing. I also would like to start an NGO that would train young people and women in weaving to help them irk a living.
Concerning my family, we have decided that the two children we have are enough, we pray to God to help us bring them up, give them a good education and I would like to later get a land and build a home for them.
Thank you for opportunity to interview.
Thank you Julious! You can find all of Julious's rugs online here.