Derived from her love of nature Michelena Bamford has transformed a beautiful craft into a booming business.
Started more than nine years ago in a garage, Rocky Mountain Wreaths has become a going concern for two women with a love for the outdoors.
“I have been an artist my whole life, it is my profession. This business has allowed me to combine this beautiful province into my artwork,” said Bamford, the owner and founder of Rocky Mountain Wreaths.
Bamford by trade is a mosaic artist, recognized across the country, as well as in Calgary.
Earlier this year she was selected to be one of Calgary’s resident artists, which is a huge step in her career.
“I will always be a mosaic artist,”she said.
“However, I love running this business in the winter, because it allows me to be outside and be in nature all the time,” said Bamford.
The wreaths she creates are fabricated from 100 per cent real and sustainable forests, for the most part right here in Alberta.
“Almost everything we use here at Rocky Mountain Wreaths was clipped right here in Alberta, for the most part, in Kananaskis,” said Bamford.
“Some of the wreaths and planters use cedar bows, so that gets shipped in from Vancouver Island, but again, it’s all done in a very sustainable fashion.
Bamford is a huge advocate for the environment and prides herself in the fact that all her products are entirely natural and not harmful to the trees or forests she gathers her materials from.
“It sounds weird, that clipping bows off of trees can be good for it, but it is,” said Bamford.
“Essentially what I am doing is pruning the forests of Alberta, the same as you would the trees and bushes in your yard, so that they don’t get too out of control or too overgrown.”
In the nine years since her company’s launch, Bamford has since bought out her original partner, and has moved out of her garage to a full blown studio/workspace.
“Now that I have my own space, I can really start to expand this business,” said Bamford.
“It has allowed me to host workshops where people can come and make their own wreaths and planters, as well as hire more staff than I ever have before.”
Joanne McDougall is one such employee, and has been with Rocky Mountain Wreaths for a number of years.
“I am an artist, just like Michelena, and I am also a mother,” said McDougall.
“Working for Michelena has been incredible not only for my working life but also for my family. She understands exactly what it is like to have to juggle work and family responsibilities, and makes it easy to balance both.”
As a mother of three boys, and a busy woman between her art studio Wolf Willow Studio and Rocky Mountain Wreaths, Bamford has had to manage her art, career as well as family for her entire career, leading her to be understanding with her staff.
“We all have children here at Rocky Mountain Wreaths, and we all have responsibilities outside of work, so I have made an effort to be as accommodating as I can,” said Bamford.
This business is incredibly important to me, but it doesn’t hold a candle to my family, and I know it’s the same for all of my staff. – Michelena Bamford
Bamford is already awash in orders, as Christmas draws closer, and people are looking for their annual wreath deliveries.
After almost 10 years Bamford is well prepared for this busy season, and fully stocked to, as she likes to say, bring nature to your door.