"My art is a family heritage, handed down over generations of great masters in the art of tooled leather. I was fortunate to learn from one of them, and that has made me what I am today."
"Hola! I'm Julio Eugenio Sanchez Bernuy, born December 20, 1965 in the beautiful city of Huaraz. I lived there with my grandparents until I was nine, then moved to my uncle's house in Callao, where the schools were better.
"My uncle worked with wood and leather, and I learned my craft from him. When I was just 12, he let me begin finishing small pieces like leather trunks and jewelry boxes. I loved the work so much that I'd swipe pieces of leather from other people in the workshop to practice leather embossing on my own. When I was 16, my uncle began teaching me the art of tooled leather. He was a master craftsman.
"My work is a very delicate job, as it requires a lot of effort, dedication and especially, practice. I find motivation in my family. I believe that a child should go farther in life than his parents did, and that's why I want my children to become the best people they possibly can. I want them to triumph in life. If I have to work into the wee hours every night to make this happen, I'll do it because they are my soul, my heart and life.
"I married quite young. Marriage is a union not to be taken lightly, and it took much patience to get used to my wife and her customs, as everyone sees life in a different way. I enjoy spending my free time with my family, and I also like to play foosball. But I dedicate most of my free time to our children.
"Through my designs, I want to share my culture and our roots. And I also want to demonstrate the work of Peruvian leather craftspeople – we work in high relief, which is extremely difficult. It takes years to perfect the technique to the point that we become known as masters of our art.
"I also strive to create better designs day by day, because you can't let yourself get in rut. To offer my work all over the world, I need the highest quality, as today's shoppers are more discerning than ever.
"My art is a family heritage, handed down over generations of great masters in the art of tooled leather. I was fortunate to learn from one of them, and that has made me what I am today. Now my challenge is to do better with every passing day.
"Thank you, Novica, for your support — you motivate us craftspeople to continue improving our art. Thanks to you, we can give our children a better life so that they can achieve more than their parents. That is my dream."