The Symmetric. Read the Blog.  Visit the Shop.  We are two city girls leading country lives: inspired by the natural world, offbeat beauty, nostalgic objects and colourful language.


[ header image ]
2013/07/22 / Shanan


Good morning!  This weekend was kind of fantastic for many reasons.  Fun houseguests, delicious meals, swimming and sunning in the bay, pulling fresh veggies out of our garden – there was a lot of unplugged, in-the-moment enjoyment to be had.  But on Saturday night, alone at my desk, I found myself spiralling down the old internet ‘inspiration’ (air-quotes here) rabbit-hole, and realized I needed to take a step back.

I’ve been writing this blog for close to three months now so it seemed like an appropriate time to take stock of, and re-assess, a few things.  When I started it, I had been feeling quite low.  It seemed I hadn’t really been creative on my own terms in a long time, and just needed SOMEWHERE to channel all my restless energy.  I wanted to challenge myself in a public forum (even if it was only to a few people following along at the beginning) and just write, photograph, collect and share without having too much of a set agenda.

And the amazing thing is that I feel reborn.  Not, uh, in a Christian sense or anything.  But I feel an excitement, a purpose, and a satisfaction that’s been missing.  My family has crafted an incredible little life for ourselves and in a strange way, The Symmetric has allowed me to appreciate and savour it more.

So the good news is that I will continue to march ahead.  I would like to do so with a little more intention, though.

I’ve had people ask, ‘what is the website ultimately about?’ or ‘what is the end-goal in all of this?’ and I’ve just kind of brushed it off because I wasn’t sure what the answer was, or didn’t care to pigeonhole myself when I was still in the early stages, kind of fumbling my way around.

But I think I’m ready to declare at least a few allegiances, plant a flag on this moon, and seriously mix up my metaphors in the service of attempting to describe where I want this blog to go in the future. Stay with me here. I’m sweating a little.

These are the ideas that I keep coming back to.  That have the power to give me that uncontrollable, lump-in-my-throat feeling. That leave me actually inspired, instead of inspired-with-a-side-of-envy-or-self-loathing (you know what I’m talking about).  That make me reflect on my own life in an intriguing way:

1. The ability to express honesty and vulnerability through creative acts.

2. Seeing how people (especially women and mothers) go about their everyday routines, and how that fits into the bigger picture of their family, career, and identity.

3. The impact of sentimentality and nostalgia in how we connect, process experiences, and enjoy culture.

4. Appreciating simplicity and loveliness but also going further, past the merely ‘pretty’ to find beauty or meaning in things that may feel a bit weird, or uncomfortable.

You may be asking yourself, what the hell does this mean for the blog?  Well…  I want to share a little more of my own life and inner workings, and profile other interesting people.  I want to engage and connect with my readers, asking questions and provoking discussion.  And I want to veer away from the blatantly materialistic (OMFG I want this dress!) to feature more truly interesting or unique items with a story behind them, when appropriate.

I promise it will still be fun, and funny, and not all weirdly serious all of a sudden.  I just want to dig a little deeper, now and again, and make sure to focus on some of the things that really matter to me.  This may not make The Symmetric any easier to categorize (I still don’t know what that proverbial ‘end-goal’ is; Are you a ‘mommy’ blog? A design blog?  Aw f&ck), but I hope it will still become a small but thoughtful, humorous, and interesting part of your day.  Thanks for listening.  I really welcome your comments and feedback!  xx Shanan

Image above: Neon text installation by Lee Jung, via Colossal.

ps. The post title is taken from the first line of Wilco’s song, “In a Future Age.”

  • Natalia:

    You rock! Keep following your gut on this endeavor – so excited to see what comes out of it next!

  • The Symmetric:

    Thanks, Natalia. That means a lot to me.

  • Catherine:

    I agree with Natalia. I think this post is very exciting. Holla! And yay to life and all its richness!

  • Natalie:

    Thanks for putting this down in words. It really resonates with my own experience (and it explains why I enjoy your blog so much). In my family my mom has always been the anti-entropy agent. She bolsters and mends, mops up and beautifies our lives. Never quite confident I’m qualified for the job of being a mom, based on that model. We talk about where the energy comes from, and for her, for me, it really does come down to distilling creative energy from the everyday. Beauty and sentimentality: the emotion we invest in objects and experiences and the emotions we extract from them. They seem frivolous but are so essential. Sometimes I start feeling a bit too Clarissa Dalloway, and your posts help me recuperate the creative labour of this stage of life. Glad there’s momentum building. Keep it up!

  • The Symmetric:

    Natalie, maybe you should be steering this ship! I appreciate your eloquence. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point – definitely not something I would have really had the ability to contemplate, let alone write about, a year ago. Making it through that early baby stage is key! After that, I am absolutely positive that you’ll surprise and outdo yourself in the ‘creative energy’ department.

  • allison b-t:

    this entry is really resonating with me and i have written and re-written about 5 comments about it but none feel like adequately appropriate responses to what you’re saying … the bottom line is that since discovering your blog about a month ago, it has quickly become my favorite read. i think it’s great to challenge yourself and strive for improvement but you’ve been doing a bang up job thus far. i look forward to more, whether it stays the same or progresses.

  • kauri:

    just caught up on what my fav c-wooder (notawaer) is doing and Shan…thank-you for letting us into your life. its a privilege.
    …i’m counting on you to put pix of my cutie so i can see her grow. i miss you all.

  • Catherine:

    Thank you for this post, and for what you’re working on here. I’m always happy to see your posts pop up in my Feedly and I can’t wait to see the profiles you post. As a bit of an introduction, you and I have a mutual friend in Craig Love. He showed me your website when I was in the last year of my BFA and I found your work really inspiring so it’s great to be able to follow along with you here. We also connected on Twitter recently re: your excellent post about interiors from children’s lit. Have you seen the Family Business series that was posted on the Walker Art Center blog a while back? I first read the series when I was pregnant and have re-read it a few times since. It’s hard to find honest accounts of how women balance the need for creative space after entering parenthood, so I really do appreciate what you’re hoping to explore and look forward to reading along.


Please feel free to leave a comment

The Symmetric.

sign up and we'll keep you in the loop about our latest adventures, new products, + upcoming events