Natural Icon

At Natural Icon Designs I make original mixed media paintings and handmade jewellery with a focus on semi precious gemstones, bone, amber, wood and freshwater pearls. I take pride in creating every piece in Calgary Alberta Canada. Unless otherwise noted all pieces are one of a kind.

 

               

Starting a Business...

  I've been really hell bent on creating a business out of my art. Not a simple task so far! I'm pretty committed to make it work. I have been looking for a job for the past 6 months or so with no luck. I am thinking that perhaps I am too old, or too honest. I answer all questions honestly. Very often I hear "thank you for your honesty" or "at least you're being honest." Honesty and truth are not currently in vogue. My other thought is that I am too terribly overqualified or too startlingly attractive to hire. It may be my sarcasm as well :) It is the lowest form of humor.

      I have my made to order business up and going, have sold some things, starting to get more traffic. I have 13 subscribers to my email newsletter list, 3 of which I think are me:) You must have a blog to have an online business, that is the chant. So I hack at it. My blogging has been spotty at best. I have no theme or style. I'm thinking my theme might be honesty. Honestly I don't really like writing as a past time. But it is a good way to try to express one self and connect with other humans. Thus I persist. This blog post is going to be about art, business and me.

    Let's start with me. I have been struggling with many things you seem to need to do to have a business. You need a professional head shot if you have a business they say. People need to connect to a person... hmmmm... I don't have a lot of pictures of me. My selfie game is not strong. I have given it a shot but I feel stupid doing it. I did have professional pictures done once and I almost became deceased. It was painful! (That brown thing that looks like a dick in the bottom right corner is a ceramic turtle. Honest. Plus I have a lot of recycling and a golden moose.)

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giving it a go

'People need to know who you are' they say, and you need to form a relationship with them. Make a FB group, do a live video, put yourself out there! Oh boy. I talk to flies and dogs and grasshoppers and myself. I have a handful of friends. My Venus is in Aquarius. Relationships are honestly not my thing. So this part of having a business may take awhile. 

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The name Natural Icon is actually from an artist statement and a series of work. The idea is that there are  things in nature more miraculous than any story that humans can write. The icons in this universe are animals, plants, stars, planets. Not dudes in robes in stories. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic Church and a Catholic school. That meant daily religion classes and sitting through so many assemblies. It meant drawing many a scene from the bible in scribblers and scrapbooks. I shall see if I can dig some up. So that's where I did most of my drawing to begin with. I liked to draw St. Francis the most because this meant I could draw all the animals around him. I feel ok talking about this, it is my life, my past and culture. I believe there is a higher power but I don't believe humans know much about it. So my art is a celebration of nature, the animal kingdom, sometimes the sacred feminine and what it means to me to be me as I am in this world, the moon sun and stars, the creative spark and sometimes science. Ultimately I always made art so I didn't have to speak or write. Sometimes that works but more often than not writing ensues. I do so appreciate emojis ❤❤❤

 #smallthings #prettythings #shinythings #nature #natureart #bee #artfortheeveryday #artforeveryone #madeinCanada #Albertaart #mixedmedia #art #yyc #artyyc #yycart #pyrography #wood #woodburning #woodart #etc you can find me on  Instagram

#smallthings #prettythings #shinythings #nature #natureart #bee #artfortheeveryday #artforeveryone #madeinCanada #Albertaart #mixedmedia #art #yyc #artyyc #yycart #pyrography #wood #woodburning #woodart #etc you can find me on Instagram


The Websites

I have three...

 This is what my shopify site looks like atm. It's the most basic template and it doesnt have any great lifestyle photos yet but it will! It is shoppable now and if you sign up for my  email newsletter list you will be in my special secret club.  Perhaps I will make a secret ring or something eventually:)

This is what my shopify site looks like atm. It's the most basic template and it doesnt have any great lifestyle photos yet but it will! It is shoppable now and if you sign up for my email newsletter list you will be in my special secret club. Perhaps I will make a secret ring or something eventually:)


 This is my Etsy, this is where I have my original work for sale and will be adding a custom artwork option soon. 

This is my Etsy, this is where I have my original work for sale and will be adding a custom artwork option soon. 

 This is where you are now! This is like my safe web space. I just like it here. I'm thinking of moving all my jewellery here. We will see. Squarespace is much easier to customize the appearance and make galleries of photos. I really enjoy changing the colours around every now and again. I also like to move furniture around every so often. I'm just like that:)

This is where you are now! This is like my safe web space. I just like it here. I'm thinking of moving all my jewellery here. We will see. Squarespace is much easier to customize the appearance and make galleries of photos. I really enjoy changing the colours around every now and again. I also like to move furniture around every so often. I'm just like that:)


Making Art

    Making and selling art....well I sell some but certainly not enough to keep me and five dogs fed and watching HBO. Selling original art can be a challenge. Making enough of it and then selling enough of it. The made to order nature of what I am building makes it so I don't have to buy or store wholesale amounts of stock. I can sell prints in many sizes to whoever orders one. I can still make and sell originals, but I have created a variety of price points with prints and products. My goal is to be able to paint more but not have to paint so much that it becomes a chore. I think they call it work life balance:)

these guys have all found a good home.

   

Trying to Be Good

   Everything that I am offering is made in an ethical and sustainable way in Canada. I use birch panels for my original work that are made in Canada. Birch is a fast growing tree. My metal leaf is made in Italy but I buy it at Mona Lisa Art Supplies which is a Calgary institution. They've been around for 50 years. I also buy my gold leaf adhesive there and paint brushes and what not. I buy my birch panels at Inglewood Art Supplies which is now in Bridgeland. So I'm trying my hardest to support other local small businesses and Canadian manufacturers. The made to order model means I will never have waste!

The Actual Art

     The actual art! I have finally found a way to make a painting that works for me. I draw it onto wood, burn in the lines, add gold, copper and silver metal leaf and then paint it. I paint a lot of animals usually with stars, trees, leaves and halos, which could also be suns or moons or whatever you like. The circle is important to me. I don't like writing about the meaning of my work too much. I was always of the opinion that the art should be able to stand on it's own. If I wanted to be a writer, I would have become a writer. It's not always a popular opinion! I'm totally open to questions, but I don't write artist statements unless I have to.  

The Stuff

I'm really excited about the stuff! Originally I was just looking to get prints made, then I stumbled upon a company called Art of Where that prints whatever you design either in wholesale quantities or one by one. It is all made and manufactured in Canada, so it is employing many other Canadians as well as myself. This pleases me. The stuff ranges from prints to flare skirts, beanies to leggings, tote bags to carry alls, dresses to scarves and many other things. It is adding form to function and function to form. When I say that it is art for the everyday, I mean you can incorporate art into an object you use all the time, like a bag or a pair of leggings. Adding art to your everyday life is not a necessity but it is a pleasure.

Made to Order

   Have you ever been to a liquidation store? Wondered where all this stuff comes from? Why are there 100 pairs of mustard yellow culottes in all different sizes on sale for 10 bucks a pair? No one is going to buy them for 10 dollars, probably no one is going to buy them at all. I often filter through the clothes at the grocery store and wonder who is going to buy all of this bizarrely designed, creepy material clothing? I am guilty of buying leggings there in the past, they are really cheap, but my powerful thighs usually rub holes into them in a month or two. I have a pile of them in the basement in my mending basket, like that's ever going to happen.

     If your clothing was made to order there would be way less polyester leopard print floating around the planet.

 Are there enough people in Calgary to wear all these lovely leopard tops? I have some doubts! My son is always fun to go shopping with :)

Are there enough people in Calgary to wear all these lovely leopard tops? I have some doubts! My son is always fun to go shopping with :)

     I have been trying to be a more mindful consumer the past few years. I have been trying to create a business that has less impact on the world and can help others be more mindful consumers as well. I find it challenging but not impossible. My solution has been to use a company that makes everything that I design to order. Made to order means there is no extra. I will never have 40 XS googly eye pants in my living room, looking for a place to happen. If someone wants googly eye pants and who wouldn't??? they order them and they are made especially for them. It does take a little bit longer than ordering things from other ginormous companies but if you plan your purchases ahead a little bit, it is not that inconvenient. 

    The other benefit of a made to order business and a business that makes things in North America is that there is no giant container-ship shipping from overseas. I don't have to order bulk and have things shipped to Canada first and then distribute them from here. Everything is made in Montreal and shipped from there, one little package at a time. Container ships are responsible for a lot of pollution, both in the air and in the water.

     If you would like to have something made to order for you have a look at my online shop! 

 Click the button and sign up to save 10% on your first  Made to Order  Order!

Click the button and sign up to save 10% on your first Made to Order Order!

End of Summer Learning Series at Wolf Willow Studio

Take a Creative Vacation this August

Check out my Eventbrite profile with all the events, dates and details listed. Supplies for the described projects are included, 12 and up is great and if you would like to arrange different payment options email me naturalicon@gmail.com!

Always So Much to Do!

I always feel like I am not getting enough done. I'm not great at relaxing at all. I very much feel like there are never enough hours in the day yet I also think I am a chilled individual until I blow my stack and then I think hey I'm actually a really big spaz. Sigh. Blogging I am not so good at. I always think it needs to be epic and amazing and it never really is so I am going to post something daily for awhile and see what comes of it. I may not even check my spelling which will really freak me out. I have been doing the #DailyBead on Instagram since January 1 and I must say I am getting bored of it. So the three month rule may not apply to me. I intend to stick with it though so we will see what happens! Blogging on the other hand makes me shiver. I'll start with something safe, a Daily Bead round up! I love visuals - colours, textures, balance and symmetry and contrast and all the components of visual language - so easy. Real language, not so easy :)  But like anything you want to get better at...practice!

A Fresh Start!

I have been trying for quite some time to cram three things into one web site! It has not been working out very well. I am stubborn though so I have kept at it until finally I have given up and made a separate site for my Jewellery, Art and Social Media Services business. The relief I feel now! Maybe that's the fun of being so stubborn, finally giving up is such a nice feeling. 

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Coming up with brand names, logos etc is very time consuming and sort of gets in the way of the creative process. Trying to define who you are and what you are all about in a word or two and an image or three is challenging. You must remember that you can always change things in the future, it is not written in stone. It is an evolution. That's what I've been telling myself anyway. So the name Natural Icon I came up with years ago for a series of paintings I was doing. I had just graduated with my fine art degree and was out of school, floundering around a bit, free from instructors, thesis statements, artist statements or any other sort of structure for my art. So I got to meditating about what I really cared about, what really moved me and made me happy. I started thinking back to my childhood and what fascinated and inspired me way back when. What I came up with was animals, leaves, rocks, stars, the sun, flowers, shells, bones, sand, dirt and water. So basically Nature!

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The architecture of the natural world follows mathematical equations. Now math is not really my thing, like Barbie said "math is hard" or at least I have to think about math way harder then other things. Probably the only thing I have in common with Barbie:)  Math is magical though and mysterious to me. According to Wikipedia " two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. " 

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  Now if I think real hard about that it makes sense! What I am all about is the visuals, and the visuals associated with the Golden Ratio are amazing and magical. The example to illustrate the Golden ratio is more often than not the cross section of a nautilus shell. The Nautilus is a living fossil, remaining unchanged for millions of years. It is a mysterious creature that builds it's own home a chamber at a time, perfectly and beautifully. The above fossils are cephalopods, much smaller than a Nautilus but illustrating similar construction. So that's where the idea started, the magic of the Natural world...the Icon part I will write about next time!

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