MAKER STORIES // Rachel Lyon of Forged by Nature
Tell us about you and what role 'hand-made' plays in your life…
I have always been in love with making and creating. For a long time I thought there was no money in art, and that doing what I loved would always be a hobby. As a licensed hairstylist and Hearing Instrument Specialist with a Business Diploma I worked as a hairstylist out of my home on the evenings and weekends and worked as a Hearing Instrument Specialist during the week. When my husband and I were blessed with our son, I had the opportunity to become a stay-at-home mother. I have been at home with son for 3.5 years now. I love being a mother, spending my time with my ever-growing little man.
My son and I would often visit the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. It was warm, beautiful and a great place to spend cold days. I grew to love the butterflies and plants; I started to learn more and more about the creatures that lived in the sanctuary. Their Latin names, their regions and their distinctive traits were fascinating to me.
Fast forward two years, I am now giving new life to creatures that have completed their life cycle and hopefully teaching others the importance of pollinators. The butterflies I use are sourced through the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory or from conservatories around the globe that are imported through their respective wildlife protection agencies. I source the imported butterflies ethically with the help of a retired science high-school teacher, who has many years experience in dealing with importing.
What is something fun, interesting and/or personal about you and your business?
Forged by Nature is focussed on being ethical and educational. Each piece once belonged to a living butterfly. I hope that by using their wings and transforming them into jewelry, people will take a new interest in our natural world.
Pollinators are vital to our survival, and I am not sure how many people truly understand that. Hopefully these pieces will be a great entry into a conversation about conservation and climate.
The name of the butterfly and its native region is included with each piece. A portion of the sale is donated to Wildlife Preservation Canada. One of the projects they are currently working on is reintroducing the Blue Karner Butterfly back into Ontario. The Blue Karner is a butterfly that can no longer survive in Ontario due to habitat destruction.
How did you get interested in becoming a maker? What do you love about it?
As many makers will say it started as hobby and turned into a full time opportunity.
I love how being a maker lets me explore new and exciting things. I love trying new mediums, forms and shapes. I love that I get to use my business background to grow this venture and support my family. I love that it gives me the freedom to spend time with my family and be there whenever they need me.
What is it that you specialize in within the crafting/handmade goods world?
I specialize in resin jewelry. I love how resin looks and feels like glass but isn’t as fragile and can become any shape I desire.
I use a resin that has been specifically designed for artists. Developed here in Canada by a husband and wife team, I am pleased to say it does everything it says it should. It is UV stable and therefore does not yellow over time and is not dangerous to inhale.
Describe your artistic community and how you think people in your community see you...
I teach art to children in the evenings, often lead a moms group in crafts and am a part of an artisan group in my community.
I hope others see me as someone who believes art is important in life; it can be inspirational, healing and an excellent expression of self. I hope I inspire others to keep art alive and feel encouraged to try new things.
What stories do you have or struggles have you overcome that will encourage the development and strengthen the identity of the Canadian-crafted industry?
I believe that there is a still a place for Canadian jewelry makers, despite the fact that the market is flooded with mass-produced jewelry from outside of Canada. Canadians are becoming more and more aware of shopping small, local and supporting fellow Canadians. Because of this, I would say that even though there seems no room for yet another jewelry artist, it’s simply not true. Canadians want to support and grow their economy. People are becoming more conscious in their choices and I think that is great!