Bone & Quill Allows Indigenous Artist Marcos To Reconnect With His Lineage
Marcos Arcentales is the owner of the Toronto-based handcrafting business Bone & Quill. Bone & Quill is an Indigenous family run business that strives on independence and self governing. They use natural elements of elk bone, porcupine, copper, silver, and polished gemstones to create detailed jewellery, accessories, and decor. Each piece contains great detail and evolves from Marcos’ journey in reconnecting with his indigenous lineage.
Prior to starting Bone & Quill, Marcos was a 1994 Juno nominee for his album “Condor Meets the Eagle.” His live Juno performance was televised to more than 3 million viewers and you can find the song “Nishin” by his band Kanatan Aski with singer Pura Fé on YouTube.
Before COVID-19, Marcos would tell his children: “We are artists, and because we are artists we have the power to create and co-create without limitations. This is what sets us apart from everything else. Regardless of the situation we must use our creativity to get out of the mess we find ourselves in.” The pandemic has caused frustration, sadness, and overwhelm for Marcos, and it forced him to look at other options for his business. However, he sees it as a blessing in disguise.
“I may be small but small can push itself to the top.”
Marcos used the ShopHERE powered by Google program to build his online store. At first, it was confusing and intimidating, but after working with his eCommerce Coordinator Manasa, he was able to understand how it really works “behind the curtains.” Marcos feels it’s important that the business owner and eCommerce Coordinator are compatible and was grateful that Manasa would repeat steps with patience when he did not understand something.
Bone & Quill is part of an indigenous story called “The Condor meets the Eagle” philosophy. This philosophy foretells how Indigenous peoples from the North and South will one day fly side by side in unity. Bone & Quill creates this symbolism through the use of porcupine quills, elk and deer antler bone from the North as well as copper and silver from the south, inlaid in the aromatic palo santo wood. Palo santo is traditionally used by Indigenous people of the South for smudging.
Bone & Quill sells earrings, necklaces, rings, charango, beaded lanyards, and “Indigenous extras.” Each piece uses elements that are combined to tell a story of wellbeing and bring a sense of harmony to the human spirit.
As an Indigenous artist, Marcos believes that hard work will pay itself off in time. He believes his biggest challenge is competing with millions of online businesses.
“The way of making business has now changed and going back to the old ways will no longer be an option.”
To counteract this challenge, Marcos is taking it one step at a time, so that both his online store and artisan craftsmanship can grow side by side.
Marcos is working with an indigenous organization, the Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts (ANDPVA), to hold a pop-up shop this holiday season.
From November 3rd to December 24th 2021, you can find Bone & Quill along with other indigenous artists at 1107 Queen Street East in Toronto, Ontario for the pop up. During their grand opening on November 6th, they will have catering, Indigenous dancers and an official prayer opening with an elder. The local municipal council of the area will also give a speech.
If you want to see Bone & Quill’s online store, click here.
If you’re looking for your own free eCommerce store, check out Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google Program here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.