A Hand Drawn Postcard by local artist Robyn Mulligan

Artisan Postcards: A Canmore Collaboration

CAVING KEEPSAKES: CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF RAT’S NEST CAVE THROUGH UNIQUE SOUVENIRS

Unforgettable experiences are what we’re all about here at Canmore Cave Tours – and part of the adventure is keeping your memories alive, long after you’ve left Rat’s Nest Cave.

Visit our office and you’ll discover a treasure trove of seriously unique souvenirs, designed and made in collaboration with fantastic local artisans, right here in Canmore.

We’ve hand-picked beautiful, quality items for our souvenirs that you’ll genuinely want to buy and use. No bland keyrings or uninspiring participation certificates here – we promise!

We’re proud to offer functional items that you can use every day, including hand-crafted soaps and artisan pottery mugs made using cave clay, as well as decorative keepsakes, such as delicate hand-blown glass bats and other animals, and commemorative Rat’s Nest Cave guidebooks.

From the production process, to the significance behind the little details, and the journey of the local artisan and creator, each souvenir has a unique story behind it – and we’re excited to share them with you!

 

NEW: Hand-drawn art print postcards offer unique Rat’s Nest Cave memento

One of our most recent souvenir collaborations is a beautiful art print postcard, emblazoned with a hand-drawn design by Canmore artist Robyn Mulligan.

Directly inspired by Robyn’s own experiences with Canmore Cave Tours, the postcard design illustrates one of the most breathtaking sights inside Rat’s Nest Cave: a sparkling pool of natural grotto waters, set in vivid contrast against the cave’s stalactite and stalagmite-covered walls. The scene is illuminated by the golden light of a headlamp, worn by a red-jumpsuit-clad Canmore Cave Tours adventurer, standing back in awe. “It was great to have creative freedom to take what I felt most inspired by in the cave and use that as my inspiration. It was a lot of fun to try something different,” says Robyn, about the design.

Getting Started on a new Postcard Design inspired by the Grotto in Rat's Nest Cave

“Other-worldly”, “calming”, and “meditative” are among the most frequently used words by our visitors to describe their experiences with us inside Rat’s Nest Cave – and Robyn has perfectly captured this essence, in her own distinctive style.

Robyn discovered her own unexpected passion for caving in 2017, joining us for an Adventure Tour and Explorer Tour and journeying to the heart of Rat’s Nest Cave. “For me, exploring the cave was an amazing new adrenaline rush – fully relying on my sense of sight and sense of touch, working with my body, and doing something I wouldn’t normally do in my day-to-day life,” Robyn says.

“Reaching the Grand Gallery, I felt a sense of peace that’s comparable to when you hike to the top of a mountain pass. You breathe in fresh air, take in the view – it’s a feeling of adrenaline meets calm.”

Balance Explore: Vibrant art reflects an adventurous life

Describing her work as “colourful functional art, inspired by an active outdoor lifestyle,” Robyn’s wider body of work draws inspiration from her own experiences in nature, celebrating the beauty of the most iconic places in the Canadian Rockies.

A hand-drawn postcard by Canmore artist Robyn Mulligan

“I’m a tactile, hands-on person – I love creating things for a living and spending my free time being active and being outdoors. I’m all about having a balance of energy, life, work, and fun,” Robyn says.

In summer, you’ll find her hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and paddle boarding, and then cross-country skiing and downhill skiing in the winter.

Previously studying anthropology at university and working in hospitality, Robyn took the leap to start her own business and pursue a career as a full-time artist in early 2016. Branding her work Balance Explore, she’s ecstatic to be taking her lifelong passion for art and creativity to the next level.

Robyn sells functional art products, featuring her distinctive hand-drawn designs, at local farmer’s markets and via her online Etsy store – and she’s earning a strong following in Alberta and beyond.

In addition to postcards, the Balance Explore product line includes embroidered patches, vinyl stickers, calendars, colouring books, and enamel mugs and pins.

“Quality testing has been a lot of fun. I’ve taken products like my enamel mugs – which need the most durability – and run them through snow and ice to make sure they can be well-used and still look great.”

One of the keys to Robyn’s distinctive style is her quality tools: professional-grade Prisma markers, bringing to life her signature vivid colours and bold lines with their rich, opaque pigments.

“I like breaking the mould and staying true to my own unique style. What I like for the outfits I wear, is what I like for my art: bright, blocky, upbeat colour,” Robyn says.

Robyn Mulligan is a Canmore artist and owner of Balance.Explore

Having visited more than 35 countries before the age of 30, Robyn also draws inspiration from a long list of off-the-beaten path travel journeys. From working and sailing for months at sea on a tall ship (starting in Brazil, with stops including Argentina, South Africa, Namibia, and Nova Scotia), to exploring waterfalls in remote areas of Thailand, to completing yoga teacher training in Mexico, her sense of adventure shines through each piece of her work.

And while she’s seen some of the world’s most unique places, she says there’s no place quite like Canmore.

“My heart has always been in the Bow Valley – it’s the feeling of home. It’s a magical place to live and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

To purchase Robyn’s beautiful art print postcards, featuring her hand-drawn Rat’s Nest Cave design, and to check out our full collection of souvenirs, visit us at Canmore Cave Tours during business hours: 129 Bow Meadows Crescent, Canmore.

Alberta, Artisan, Memories