Calendar idea has unlikely origin

Artist tackles self-publishing and expands from there

Photographer and publisher Suzanne Heron shows off her first Salish Coast Calendar.

Photographer and publisher Suzanne Heron shows off her first Salish Coast Calendar.

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

“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 Saanich artist and calendar self-publisher Suzanne Heron.

She used photographs and digitally altered 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 licence. What I’m after (is) something that’s more evocative.”

The opportunity to create the calendar came when one door closed and another opened. While looking at applying for employment insurance, Heron discovered a federal self-employment program. “It provides an extremely modest wage for 40 weeks, and incredible business coaching,” she said.

The coaching came from the Reger Group in Victoria, and from there, Heron was inspired to launch Blue Heron Publishing this year.

“The main front-end activity is finding out if you have a valid idea, and doing a lot of market research,” Heron said, adding her coach advised to  not “put all your eggs in one geographic basket.”

After speaking to retailers around the Capital Region, she came up with a line of cards and a perpetual calendar of Salt Spring artists to go with the original idea.

Neighbourhoods, buildings and natural places from around the region are represented in the calendar.

Tidbits of local history, ecology and traditions are also included, as are monthly recipes from area chefs.

“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 also contain links to interesting things to see and do around Greater Victoria.

For locations where the calendar can be purchased, or to submit favourite places for the 2013 calendar, email