Behind the scenes at Rachel Joyner Art and Upcycled Furniture in Preston

Rachel Joyner of RJ Arts, Garstang Rd, Fulwood
Rachel Joyner of RJ Arts, Garstang Rd, Fulwood

When taking time out to relax after running her own boxing gym, Rachel Joyner soon found herself embarking on another business venture – this time opening up her own art studio.

READ MORE: Click here for more stories

Rachel Joyner of RJ Arts, Garstang Rd, Fulwood

Rachel Joyner of RJ Arts, Garstang Rd, Fulwood

The 42-year-old from Fulwood is not afraid of hard graft as she has taken on many roles over the years: probation service officer, graphic and web designer, carer and even labourer.

Keen to add another string to her bow, she set up Rachel Joyner – Art and Upcycled Furniture six months ago.

She says: “I have been running Red Kite School of Thai Boxing for 12 years and over the last few years I started painting to chill out. I did art at A level but didn’t know I could paint as well as I could. I did it to relax and when I put my work on Facebook someone wanted to buy it.

“It went from there and before I knew it, something I did to chill out turned into another business.

Before I knew it, something I did to chill out turned into another business.

Rachel Joyner

“I also upcycle furniture and my garage was getting full, so I needed a unit. After some research, I ended up with a workshop.”

Rachel uses the space to display her own work, as well as inviting other artists to come in and sell their own commissions. The shop stocks smaller items including mugs and cushions. Rachel can also take commissions for murals, pet portraits and wedding packages.

She adds: “I have started renting out space to other artists so they can showcase their own work.

“So far, I have 12 artists signed up, with a few more pending. I have space for 21 artists depending on how much space they rent.

Rachel Joyner

Rachel Joyner

“My goal is to make the studio a legitimate venue to buy quality original art work.

“I have some oak carvings, crafts and gifts. Once the walls are full I will see what space I have to offer more crafts.”

The mother-of-one admits she is busy, juggling the art studio and gym, but help is not far away.

She adds: “My husband is really helpful. He works full time and also coaches at my gym. He also stands in for me in the shop.

“I also have coaches that help out at the gym. Artists who rent space also open up for me, including Christine Wilson, Jackie Simmons and Rebecca Freear.

“It is all about balancing things out as I am constantly working.

“I still need to make sure the gym is running well, as well as the art studio. I have done Thai boxing for years and years. I did some coaching 13 years ago and I transferred what was a hobby to a full time gym with volunteers.”

Rachel has been working since she was 14, with her first job being in a cake shop.

“When she was 16 she worked at a nursing home, as well as her local Spar shop. She adds that as a teenager, she had another career path in mind – as an actress.

She explains: “I wanted to go into acting and auditioned for a drama school but I didn’t get in. Things just progressed in other directions.”

Never one to let anything hold her back, Rachel joined the pilot scheme PCSOs and was the only woman in the scheme, which led her to become a probation service officer for five years. After that she became a labourer and delivered kitchens to houses.

One of her most pleasurable jobs was working for Good Life Press.

She adds: “That was a nice job. It was run by a married couple in Preston, specialising in farming books and DVDs.

“As part of this they made book covers and they let me have a go on Photoshop to design a book cover. From there I left to work for myself as a graphic and web designer. But it soon became my clear focus was the gym.

“I think my favourite job has to be running the gym. I have enjoyed all my jobs to be honest. The labouring was good exercise and there was great banter. I also enjoyed working with offenders as a probation service officer. The art shop is great fun. I just need to find a way of splitting myself in half. Once I have been running a year, I will feel more confident.”