Suzanne Heron

Suzanne Heron

EI inspires colourful calendar

Peninsula scenes featured in artful publication

Peninsula architecture, from churches to historic Glamorgan Farm, and seaside sights like the Brentwood ferry terminal and Sidney’s fish market make appearances in the 2012 Coast Salish Calendar by Blue Heron Publishing.

“It’s not completely my brainstorm. I was inspired by a calendar called the Bermuda Colours Calendar. It’s been going about 15 years or more in Bermuda,” said artist and publisher Suzanne Heron. The Bermuda calendar includes one artist each year, painting watercolours for each month.

Heron’s version includes her own take on local scenes. She uses photographs and digitally alters them to suit her vision.

“It’s been a process, coming to grips with myself as an artist,” she said. “I’ve realized that anytime you start altering the image, you’re taking artistic license. What I’m after, and why I didn’t want to use photographs, is I want something that’s more evocative.”

Like the Bermuda calendar, the Salish version also includes the titbits of information, and smaller pictures incorporated with the large one each month.

The opportunity to create the calendar came when one door closed and another opened.

“I was eligible for employment insurance and I looked around and discovered there’s an amazing federal program called the self-employment program,” she said. “It provides an extremely modest wage for 40 weeks, and incredible business coaching.”

That coaching comes from the Reger Group in Victoria, and from there the fledgling Blue Heron Publishing hatched.

“I thought this might be my opportunity to see if the calendar idea would work and make something out of it,” she said.

Reger focussed on her individual strengths and worked her hard.

“The main front end activity is finding out if you have a valid idea, and doing a lot of market research,” Heron said. The coach at Reger told her, “don’t put all your eggs in one geographic basket.” And after speaking to a number of retailers, she wound up with cards, and a perpetual calendar of Salt Spring artists alongside the original idea.

“That has been really well received over there and I’m actually selling quite a few here too,” Heron said. “The artists are just tickled pink too … they’re just thrilled to have someone come along and promote them a bit.”

Neighbourhoods, buildings and natural places from Sooke to Sidney are all celebrated in the 2012 Salish Coast Calendar, along with information about history, ecology and local traditions. A seasonal recipe from an area chef finishes each page. The months-old Blue Heron Publishing specializes in art that connects people with the places they love.

“A sense of place and feeling connected to a place is really, really important to me,” Heron said. “It made sense that I wanted to promote that for other people; a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of ‘oh isn’t that cool, I know that fact’.”

The two back pages are also filled with links to interesting things to see and do across Greater Victoria, including Peninsula arts events and outdoor markets.

Hot off the presses, the calendar is available at Knickerbockers (both Peninsula locations), Tanner’s Books and Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, The Roost and Muse Winery. Submit favourite places to suz.heron@gmail.com in preparation for the 2013 calendar.