Tell us about yourself and your work
My name is Genelle and I grew up in Huron County with a brief stint in St. Catharines to attend Brock University to acquire my B.A. in Psychology. I moved back after school and never left. I currently work for a local not for profit Rural Response for Healthy Children as a Child Support Worker. My work is an eclectic mix of anything I can letter on. I am a self-taught calligrapher and I love to use that skill along with watercolour painting and woodburning.
How did it all begin?
It all began out of boredom. It was a long winter 2016 when I decided to teach myself calligraphy. My first cards were Valentine's cards for my University friends. I happened to show these cards to fellow maker Runs With Deer Apothecary and she told me I had to create an Instagram for my talent.
Where does the name Owligraphy come from?
I have been a part of the Girl Guide organization nearly 25 years and when I came to the stage of becoming a leader I needed a leader name. Traditionally these names are owl names and Snowy Owl was chosen for me. From then on dozens of kids went through the program calling me Snowy Owl. It's common for me to be eating dinner in a restaurant or out grocery shopping and hear a small voice calling out “snowy owl”. From this I created my personal Instagram tag genelleowl and when it came time to create a business name I knew it needed to incorporate my roots. I toyed with Calligraowl, but doesn’t really have much of a flow (haha). So Owligraphy was born!
Tell us about your workspace and the materials you use
In October my partner and I moved into our new home, which luckily for me has a beautiful studio space. It is only about 6'x6', but it has floor to ceiling shelving and a beautiful brick accent on the wall. I have decorated with prayer flags, lots of photos of friends and family, artwork of my own but also of many other and of course mini lights. The materials I use would be a massive list, but here are the ones I could not live without. First of all water color paper, I usually use 140lb or heavier. All of my pigma micron and graphic pens for lettering and drawing my little characters. Tombow dual brush pens for lettering and also small watercolor work. A wide variety of watercolour paints. Gelly roll pens for accents on my lettering. My Fiskar paper cutter, I spend a lot of time cutting paper.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is mostly just the world around me. I come up with my puns on a daily basis at the grocery store, or just while driving. I also find a lot of inspiration on Instagram following folks with inspirational messages and positive imagery can take me from a uninspired to ready-to-create in minutes.
What do you love most about what you do?
I find my practice almost meditative at times and I believe it has helped significantly in my journey to mindfulness. I also love that it gives me something to do when I have down time and when I am binging Netflix.
What do you hope people get from your work?
I love when people laugh when they see my pieces, it is my favourite part of attending markets. Even if someone doesn’t purchase if they get a laugh, it was worth it. However this year it is my goal to take my work and social media in a bit of different direction. Although I will keep up with my punny cards and funny signs, I hope to add my inspiration and positivity as well. I appreciate so much the daily motivation I receive from those I follow on Instagram and I want to put more of that out into the world.
Do you have any new projects in the works?
I do actually! I am working on some daily affirmation cards that folks can use to carry with them as reminder or keep them up around their homes.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not making?
When I am not making I am working for Rural Response for Healthy Children delivering personal safety and social skills programs to kids kindergarten to Grade 5. I also am a Girl Guide leader to a Ranger group girls age 14-18. I also sit on the Board of Directors for The Women’s March Canada Huron Chapter as well as the Board of Directors for the Goderich Lions Club Camp Klahanie. I love spending time with my cat Minerva and my partner Matt. We love a good documentary and Minerva loves a good cuddle.
What advice would you give to future makers?
Just keep making! Sometimes the extra parts of the business like social media, marketing, packaging, orders, websites, sales, etc. can be discouraging, but never forget what you love. You love your craft, you love to make, never stop.
In 2015, we were very fortunate to be invited to join forces with the Goderich BIA Farmers Market to offer a section at the market geared specifically to local makers. Over the past four summers, we were so pleased to welcome so many incredibly talented local makers to Courthouse Park and to give them an opportunity to share their work with the visitors to the Farmers Market. And over the past four summers, the Makers Market has been so well coordinated by George Zoethout. We are SO thankful for his hard work and dedication to working with local makers and getting up each and every Saturday morning well before the sun! But life happens and things change, so when George found himself in a new full-time job and unable to take on the role of coordinating the makers section of the market, we decided as a team to discontinue coordinating the Saturday morning market. But that doesn't mean an end to local makers at the market! The BIA will incorporate makers into the Farmers Market and has renamed it The Goderich BIA Farmers and Artisans Market. Local makers interested in still attending are welcome to fill out applications with the BIA found here.
Nor does this mean an end to our winter indoor Makers Market and all of the other fun maker events that we coordinate. We have lots of fun events planned for 2019, including our popular Night Markets coming back to Courthouse Park this summer! We will be sharing details about the Night Markets soon, but mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 17 and Wednesday, Aug. 21! And, of course, you can support local makers all year long at the Mercantile where we feature the handmade works from more than 80 local makers!
Goderich Makers Night Market takes over Goderich's Courthouse Park for a second time this summer! It was such an incredible time we had together in July and we can't wait to do it all again! This exciting event, which we are thrilled to host with the Goderich BIA and the Huron Arts & Heritage Network, runs Wednesday, Aug. 15, 5:30-10:30 p.m., in the South Street plaza of Courthouse Park. The park will be transformed into a fun, creative atmosphere as we bring together local entertainment, food vendors, and makers of all kinds. This event is FREE and all are welcome to explore their creativity, support local makers, and enjoy a night out on the town!
Each maker, listed below, has generously donated an item that will be raffled off at the end of the evening with proceeds to support the Huron Arts & Heritage Network and our continued work to provide opportunities to support local makers. Visit the Goderich Makers tent to purchase your tickets before visiting each table to see what each maker has donated.
Goderich Makers Night Market returns in just one more sleep! This exciting event, which we are thrilled to host with the Goderich BIA and the Huron Arts & Heritage Network, runs Wednesday, July 18, 5:30-10:30 p.m., in the South Street plaza of Courthouse Park. The park will be transformed into a fun, creative atmosphere as we bring together local entertainment, food vendors, and makers of all kinds. This event is FREE and all are welcome to explore their creativity and support local makers.
Each maker, listed below, has generously donated an item that will be raffled off at the end of the evening with proceeds to support the Huron Arts & Heritage Network and our continued work to provide opportunities to support local makers. Be sure to visit each table to see what each maker has donated.
We are so excited that Mamas & Makers is almost here and we can't wait to share all the details about this wonderful event! This family-friendly event happens this Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Huron County Museum and will help families prepare to celebrate the mamas in their lives during this Mother's Day weekend.
We are equally as excited to be partnering with Huron Birth to present this event. Huron Birth is a heartfelt group of doulas from the area who are passionate about our community, perinatal well-being, supporting families and sharing lots of love for tiny humans. They offer programs and services that help families through the transitions from pregnancy to parenthood and this fundraising event will help them grow their work throughout Huron County, specifically their Maternal Outreach Fund that provides doula support to vulnerable members within our community.
So what can you expect at Mamas & Makers? A variety of family-friendly activities, listed below, along with a curated artisan market featuring locally made products to spoil your mama. Each maker, listed below, has generously donated an item that will be raffled off at the end of the day - be sure to visit each table to see what each maker has donated.
MAKERS MARKET VENDORS
We are so excited to partner with the Goderich BIA to present our first outdoor Christmas Night Market! Set in the beautifully decorated Courthouse Park, the market will bring together the community for a fun celebration of the Christmas season. Vendors of high-quality, locally-made products will line the South Street plaza where you are sure to find a unique Christmas gift for someone special on your list. The event will also feature some local entertainment, delicious ready-to-eat food, and lots of Christmas spirit! Stay tuned for details about who is going to be at the Market!
In the meantime, if you are a local maker and are interested in joining us, please fill out the application found here or email us for details.
Later this fall, we look forward to welcoming Blyth artist Kelly Stevenson to the Mercantile's Creative Space for a three-part workshop series on Zines. The series begins Oct. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m. But, of course, many have asked, "What is a zine?", so we asked Kelly to share more information on zines, what inspires her in her own zine-making, and what you can expect from the workshop.
WHAT IS A ZINE?
A zine is typically a small-circulation, self-published work that consists of mostly original work - either art or writing or both. There are a lot of different genres of zines including fan zines, political ones, chapbooks for writing and art zines. They can be made by individuals or groups and while some are themed, some are just a collection of work. Zines started out as being primarily photocopied but are also done now through printers, both commercial and more art-focused such as risograph printing. When the zine movement started they were typically produced and then distributed through mail but there are now a number of stores dedicated to selling them and a multitude of maker and zine fairs set up to give makers an in-person market and to celebrate the culture of zine making.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START MAKING ZINES?
I started making zines because my friends were. Some created them for class projects and then continued to incorporate them in their own practice. I used to doodle/sketch a lot more in sketchbooks than I do now, and my work typically has a narrative to it, so the two kind of converged. I was encouraged to start putting them together and to create zines to tell stories through pictures. I also had some writing classes where the final project was to put together chapbooks - it isn’t something I’ve kept up but is on my zine to-do list to do some more zines that incorporate or focus on my writing practice.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE ZINES YOU HAVE PUBLISHED
The first zines I did were the eight-page and poster zines from one sheet of paper - a friend of mine taught me how to make them. The first few weren’t perfect but, as usual, you’re the only one who seems to notice or care. My favourite from those first few is one that was created specifically for the poster image on the inside. I spent over 300 hours on this one drawing and was looking to maybe get more than one use out of it. So the eight pages are crops from the larger piece which is on the inside. My zines from the last few years have taken on a format more like a booklet of drawings instead of the fold out. It allows for me to include more images and play around with the story and sizes a little more. These ones include references of old family photos, a series of drawings I did for a show that then became a zine, and some character studies.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART ABOUT CREATING ZINES?
What’s been nice about having zines a part of my practice is it’s almost a break. You get to typically work smaller, which takes less time, and if you have a concrete idea, you can do all the work for one zine in about a week or two - the time it would sometimes take me to do one larger piece. Another reason I’ve continued to do it is I think art should be accessible. I can produce these booklets of work and sell them at a price that’s affordable and accessible to people who maybe like my work but can’t afford a larger piece. Due to a lot of my larger work being socially and politically based, I kind of feel like I have a responsibility then to make things that the average person can interact with and not buy into the idea everything needs to be high art and only one group of people should be able to appreciate and own art.
DO YOU HAVE FAVOURITE ZINES FROM OTHER MAKERS?
A large part of what I love about the DIY and maker culture is that a lot of people have different parts to their practice. Many of the people on this list started off making zines, and while some still do, they’ve also branched out into other parts of creating.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM YOUR CLASS?
What we’ll be learning is the eight-page zine that folds out into a poster. It’s the format I started with and one of simpler ways to layout a zine, especailly if you want to go directly from making to printing without using Photoshop and spending hours laying out and editing images. There’s a folding technique involved both in the beginning to determine where your pages go/line up and at the end to put the final product together. Participants will be encouraged to either draw or collage or write if they choose in the creating of their own zine. I’ll then be taking those finished sheets to the printer and having copies made to trade amongst the group in the hopes that there are still a few for each person to take home of their own.
A round-up of maker inspiration near and far...
When we began preparations for our first ever Night Market, we could never, ever have imagined how well-received this event would be. Like starting anything new, you never really know how it's going to go...until you try, of course. But the anxieties that always come with anything new were quickly eased once we had our extraordinarily talented makers settled into place behind the walls of the Huron Historic Gaol, a secure flow of electricity running to all our vendors, and a gorgeous summer evening to enjoy being outside together. And the crowds started coming...and coming...and coming. Over 1,100 of you came out that night, blowing any expectations we had for the event completely out of the water! What a joy it was to have so many people gather together in one space to celebrate creativity of all kinds.
And we want to say thank you:
It's almost here! Our first ever Night Market! After long dreaming of hosting such an event, we can't wait to welcome you to the courtyards of the Huron Historic Gaol which will be transformed into a fun, creative atmosphere. The market will feature a variety of hands-on activities to help visitors explore their own creativity, as well as a number of talented, local artisans selling their handmade items and local food makers selling delicious treats and bites to eat. The evening will also feature buskers throughout the evening and performances by local groups Dames Rocket, who will be playing at 8:30 p.m., and Roadside Glow, who will be playing at 9:30 p.m.
But before you come, here is what you need to know:
Who will be there and what will they be selling:
Dana, Amy and George share news and creative inspirations from the Mercantile.