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!
Dana, Amy and George share news and creative inspirations from the Mercantile.