Rachael Robichaux has been painting as long as she can remember.
The 39-year-old from New Iberia has art and creativity in her blood, with a photographer for a father and other family artisans.
She continued her art into adulthood but didn’t think her work was good enough to sell. Still, she thought she’d try, opening an online shop through the Etsy website. She named it Cajun Trinkets in honor of her Acadiana upbringing and the variety of work she produces.
“It’s been pretty much anything from jewelry to paintings to keychains,” Robichaux said. “That’s why I call it ‘trinkets.'”
The trinket umbrella allows her to try new techniques and artforms. Most recently she’s begun learning to make things with resin and epoxy and is excited to see where that takes her.
From artist to business owner
Robichaux created her Etsy shop before the pandemic, and when COVID-19 sent everyone home for an extended period of time, she poured that time and effort into her art and her store. Items began selling.
“I’ve painted my whole entire life; I always loved it but I never thought I was good enough to sell it,” she said. “Then I was selling, and I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I can.'”
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So she’s kept at it, making glittery Mardi Gras earrings and creating paintings of the fronts of customers’ homes. These are among her top sellers and favorite projects, along with LSU and New Orleans Saints-themed items.
The custom house paintings combine her love of painting old buildings (like Saint Peter Catholic Church in downtown New Iberia) with the chance to capture something special for her clients.
They snap a picture of the front of their homes, and Robichaux preserves the memory in paint. One of her recent clients commissioned a painting of her parents’ home for them to remember it after they moved.
“It’s special to people,” she said. “They can give it as gifts.”
Life outside of art
When she’s not making art she’s being mom to her three children, ages 18, 14 and 11, and doing some less creative painting. They’re remodeling their home right now.
She also cares for her mother and participates in local arts and crafts shows.
“My schedule is definitely full all the time,” she said.
Robichaux gets her kids involved. Her oldest son is gaining practical accounting experience by helping her balance her business’s books, and Robichaux is hoping her daughter takes over the art-making one day.
“She’s 11 and does better than I did at her age,” Robichaux said. “I tell her, ‘This is going to be yours one day.”
In the meantime, Robichaux will keep creating. This time she’s working on an entry for the World Championship Gumbo CookOff poster contest.
“That’s my special project right now,” she said.
Robichaux’s Cajun Trinkets can be found on Etsy and Facebook as well as in-person at Bird on the Bayou, a shop on New Iberia’s Main Street.
Contact children’s issues reporter Leigh Guidry at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeighGGuidry.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: New Iberia artist creates Cajun Trinkets : Acadiana Makers