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2014/01/22 / Shanan


This past week, Gillian was asked to be featured in the inaugural ‘style column’ of the local paper, The Creemore Echo!  Here’s the text from her mini interview by Kristi Green (it’s not printed online so thought we’d include it here).  Rock on, G.  xx Shanan

“Winter can be harsh on many things – including personal style.  In this column – the first in what we hope is an ongoing series – the Echo will showcase individuals in the area who “take it to the next level” when it comes to their dress. It could be a doldrum-defying colour combination, a surprising new way of wearing knitwear or the simple act of sporting a colourful feather in one’s cap.”

gillian sopinka creemore echo street style


Occupation:  Social Worker, Part-time Mental Health Counsellor at the Georgian Bay Family Health Team in Collingwood.

Co-owner, designer and curator (along with artist and graphic designer, Shanan Kurtz) of The Symmetric.  We write a three-times weekly blog, sell vintage clothing and jewelry, host events and offer styling services.  Our vintage clothing and antique and costume jewelry is for sale by appointment and online at our Etsy shop.  We will launch our capsule collection of vintage resort-wear in February, and we are excited to host another trunk show on Saturday, February 22.

I’m also mother to Yarrow, age 7, and Frida, age 3, and I am married to Steve Sopinka, founder of Fieldesign architecture studio.

Describe your style:  Eclectic, ironic, retro-chic.

Why Creemore?  We have a strong sense of adventure and have moved around a lot as a couple and as a family. From Montreal to Toronto to Reykjavik to Northern Ontario. After a stint in North Bay, we knew we wanted to be somewhere somewhat rural, with a strong sense of community. Proximity to friends and family is important to us (we have both in Collingwood, Beaver Valley, Guelph and Toronto), and possibilities to pursue meaningful work. Creemore offered all of these things.

We bought our rambling old house on Caroline Street in June of 2010 and Steve spent the summer renovating it (and getting rid of the bats!). We settled into the village that fall.

Favourite thing about winter?  The SNOW!  We try to stay active – cross country skiing, walking the country block, doing what we can to get out of the house and soak up some vitamin D!

I think winter gets a bad rap. It’s actually the perfect time to experiment with different, more daring materials – furs (faux is also a nice alternative), wools, leather, some of the weightier silks and velvet. This season is also ripe to try rich, bold prints and vivid colours that may feel too cumbersome and intense in the warmer, lighter months – and they are the perfect contrast to the stark environs this time of year. I say embrace it. Go big, or go home!

What are you wearing?  Everything I have on, I’ve collected from either thrift or second hand stores. I’ve dubbed these my Mick Jagger pants. They’re a great bold print skinny jean that I picked up at one of my favourite thrift stores, Wild Rose, in Guelph.  The fur hat is made in Moscow, also vintage, and a gift from Steve our first Christmas with Yarrow, spent in Iceland (very apropos because it’s the warmest thing ever!). The teal wool coat is a London Fog original, 1980s, that I dug up recently at a Goodwill shop. And my “Chewbacca” wooly mammoth mukluks are circa 1970s, made in Quebec. 

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2013/12/23 / Shanan


We’re chillin’ like villains here, wrapping presents, watching Frosty and enjoying the Hollywood-esque snow falling outside.  There was a massive ice-storm in Toronto this weekend and the power is out all over the city, so we’re thankful to be out of the melée and dug in at home up north.  The Symmetric will be posting through Christmas and New Year’s, would you please join us?

Be safe out there.  Ho ho ho and much love to you all. xx Shanan



Photos (and homemade wrapping paper!) by The Symmetric.

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2013/12/04 / Shanan


So – this holiday thing.  It’s really happening.  Over the last three days I’ve been witness to approximately 3,407 blogger gift guides, I may or may not have already listened to my favourite Christmas song (John Mellencamp’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” in case you were wondering, and no, I’m not even a tiny bit embarrassed) and contemplated overpriced tree ornaments from Anthropologie.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Did that sound cynical?  My heart’s not actually made of coal, I promise.  I find one of the nicest aspects of the lead-up to Christmas is that people get more social – hosting intimate get-togethers and festive dinner parties, breaking bread and drinking wine and indulging in that extra slice of cake.  With this in mind, over the course of December Gillian and I will be setting a series of holiday-inspired tables for your viewing pleasure.  Cheers!


Today we have what I’m calling the ‘Earthy Maximalist’ table.  The trick is to apply the ‘more is more’ philosophy without veering dangerously into gaudy-ville (which is a wholly subjective territory altogether, natch).  We used the gorgeous floral Marimekko fabric from this post as the tablecloth base, and layered it with patterned china and stoneware in shades of blue and white.  Hits of gold and green round it all out with ribbon, gilded milkweed pods, and decorative glassware.










We managed to set this table entirely with elements we already had in our homes, but I’ll put together a rough list of sources below…

Sources:  Oodi floral print fabric from Marimekko  /  vintage stoneware and china plates and bowls from Gillian’s collection: china pattern is Royal Crown Derby, mikado blue, grey plates are Royal Doulton in frost pine  /  silverware from William Ashley (a wedding gift from my grandmother)  /  grey linen napkins made by my friend Lisa, with fabric from Affordable Textiles on Queen West  /  tiny green glass bunny salt cellars from Fishs Eddy  /  Jere-esque brass flower sculpture from Ebay, similars here  /  gold ribbon from The Paper Place  /  gold-leaf applied to milkweed pods by The Symmetric.

Stay tuned for another holiday table next week!

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2013/12/02 / Shanan


Hey, so we put up all our Christmas lights this weekend – what do you think?  Just kidding.  I’m so excited to see photos of Yayoi Kusama’s current exhibition, “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven,” at David Zwirner in New York. The show features 27 new paintings and two of her immersive installation rooms, including the Infinity Mirrored Room, shown above.  Wish I could experience it in person.

Image via This is Colossal.  You can see more contemporary art we love on The Symmetric’s Pinterest board.

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2013/11/08 / Gillian


We at The Symmetric have been burning some midnight oil – launching the new site and preparing for our inaugural trunk show (we’ll have a sneak preview of some projects we’ve been working on next week!).  At different points in my life, late nights and deadlines would have been rolled out with a little help from The Mighty Triumvirate:  Strong coffee (we’re talking jet fuel, here), dark chocolate, and in my university days (cough), cigarettes.  Older and wiser, the combination of sleep deprivation and jitters heralds a different sort of pick-me-up: fresh juice!

vegetable juice ingredients fresh

True, I’m a convert.  This former bad girl has crossed to the light side. It’s all Gwyneth Paltrow, greens and juicing over here.  You may say, ‘boring’… YAWN… but I must admit, this stuff is pretty great. So, when Shanan confessed all starry-eyed  the other day that she wished we lived in a juice bar, we both giggled (standing order these days) and added it to our wish list for The Symmetric’s future empire. We did tell you we’re taking over the world, right?  One step at a time that is. And this morning, it’s with power juice.

We recommend using a juicer for best results (you can still make a decent juice with a high-powered blender, but you’ll have to add water and it won’t be as smooth). We also try to use organic and/or garden fresh veg where we can.  It’s pretty hard to make bad juice (really, any veggies will work) but here are a couple of our favourite combos:


2 carrots (peeled)

2 stalks of celery

1 beet

1 red pepper

1 lemon (peeled)

1/2 cucumber (peeled)

a slice or two of fresh ginger

a few slices of apple, if you prefer a sweeter taste

champion juicer green recipes


2 stalks of celery

1 green pepper

1 cucumber

1 lemon (peeled)

1-2 cups of fresh spinach, swiss chard, or kale

1 large handful of fresh parsley

* a tomato and carrot also make nice additions, if you want to turn your juice into more of an orange, faux-V8 concoction


Gwyneth’s new-ish Bible cookbook, It’s All Good, has some delicious recipes for fresh juice, too – the cucumber, basil and lime being particularly tasty.  Yes, it’s a full-on chick crush.  For now, that’s a wrap.  First blog. Done. Have a lovely weekend!  ~ Gillian

All photos by The Symmetric.