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2014/10/17 / Shanan


I’m rounding out the week here with another floral and food-related post – and why the hell not?

I just discovered this inspiring studio, Flowerkraut, located in the heart of now-trendy Hudson, New York. Mairead Rhona Travins and her husband Seth Benjamin Travins run the shop, which bills itself as “where floral design holds hand with lacto-fermentation.” She does the flowers, he sells his famous sauerkraut.  Brilliant. Dream business in my next life, perhaps.

Here’s another peek at their local flower arrangements (I love their wild, undone feel) and great branding (by the inimitable twin sisters known as The Weaver House). Flower studio photographs by Floortje Robertson. Have a beautiful weekend!







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2014/06/30 / Shanan


Recently Theo and I were invited, along with a bunch of other mums and kids, to our friend Jess’ family’s country property to celebrate the end of the school year.  Apparently they call it “The Farm” but, um, it turned out to be more like “The Resort.”  Such a special treat.

Here are some photos from our day, which was crammed full of tasty food, swimming, beautiful gardens, hula-hoop-ing, and general tromping about.  Tomorrow is our Canada Day holiday so here’s hoping you get the chance to relax in style, too.  Be back in a few.

xx Shanan







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2014/03/28 / Shanan


I don’t get the opportunity to see a ton of contemporary art in person these days, unless you count the rotating landscape paintings in the lobby of the Collingwood Library.  Sorry, but… no (I’m sure I’ve now offended a host of locals).  So I was really excited to catch the winter exhibition at the MOCCA in Toronto, Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque.

The show features a series of immersive environments that deal in material excess and culturally-constructed views of nature, with showpieces by David Altmejd, Lee Bul and Tricia Middleton.  The work is, perhaps, not to everyone’s tastes but it resonated with me on an incredibly uncomfortable, tactile level.  And it reminded me why I used to make art, and how I (secretly) hope that that chapter of my life will never be completely over.

Image above: Why yes, that is a decaying giant with a mirrored staircase emerging from his head. David Altmejd, detail from The Holes, 2008. Wood, mirror, glue, plaster, foam, metal wire, epoxy clay, epoxy resin, paint, horse hair, synthetic branches, synthetic flowers, pine cones, glass beads, quartz, quail eggs, glitter and snail shells. Collection of the National Gallery of Canada. Photo from Monochromatic Axonometric.

MOCCA David Altmejd the holes installation

Installation view of The Holes, photo from MOCCA.

David Altmejd MOCCA Leanne Simaan

The giant’s innards, shattered crystals, flowers – another detail. Photo by Leanne Simaan, Art Toronto.

Lee Bul MOCCA chandelier

This was kind of a revelation to see in person.  Eerie, darkly sparkling, deft yet so heavy and full of dread.  Lee Bul, After Bruno Taut (Negative Capability), 2008. Crystal, glass and acrylic beads on stainless steel armature with aluminium and copper mesh and chains.  Photo from MOCCA.

Lee Bul Leanne Simaan

Photo by Leanne Samaan, Art Toronto.  I featured another of Bul’s chandelier-like sculptures in this post.

Tricia Middleton MOCCA misled by nature

Tricia Middleton, Embracing Oblivion and Ruin is the Only Way to Live Now, 2012. Mixed media installation of insulation foam, wax, glitter, string and miscellaneous objects. Photo from MOCCA.

Tricia Middleton installation view Mocca arttoronto.ca leanne simaan

Inside the igloo-like structure. Photo by Leanne Simaan, Art Toronto.

Misled by Nature is at the MOCCA until April 6th and also features the work of Mark Bradford, Yinka Shonibare, and Bharti Kher.  It was curated by Catherine Crowston, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, and Jonathan Shaughnessy.  Here’s a review of the exhibition from Canadian Art.

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2013/08/27 / Shanan


I love tattoos… on other people.  Lisa had been talking about getting a large bicep tattoo for years and then when I saw her on Sunday – DAMNNNN!  There it was.  It’s so cool it kind of makes me sick.

Karolyn Pham Left Wing Tattoo William Morris design detail

The original design inspiration came from a William Morris wallpaper called Tulip & Willow and was developed by Karolyn Pham at Left Wing Tattoo into a more ink-friendly illustration.  Lisa may still get some orange shading done around the tips of the petals, like in the drawing below, during a future session.

William Morris wallpaper Tulip & Willow tattoo inspiration

I don’t think I’d ever get a tattoo myself, although I can’t really say why (just add it to my super boring and prudish list of NO’s).  But I do admire the ballsiness that people have to commit to this type of thing.  Everyone else out there has a tattoo though, right?  I want to see. You can post a picture on The Symmetric’s Facebook page or send me a link on Twitter. PS, this is the extent of my current social media strategy so don’t let me down.

A couple other rad tattoo artists I’ve recently discovered are Minka Sicklinger (via Leticia) and Ondrash (I don’t love every design but the painterly execution is amazing. Via Lisa).  Oh, and here’s a list from Flavorwire of “The Most Beautiful Song Lyric Tattoos We’ve Ever Seen” (the Huey Lewis one cracks me up).

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2013/06/05 / Shanan


Two days ago, Theo had her first full-scale, rolling-on-the-grass-stomping-your-feet-GO-AWAY-MUMMY tantrum.  It was pretty out of character for her and felt hard to relate to while it was happening.  What could she be feeling?  It all seemed so irrational.

Then one of my moods slowly started creeping in this morning and suddenly I’m sitting here, all crocodile tear-y and filled with a kind of sad, simmering anger that almost seems too stupid to admit.  But I will, because one of the things I told myself when starting this website was that in addition to showing off, like, all the super rad things I like to look at and posting some of our family experiences, I also wanted it to feel real and honest.

Some days I just absolutely hate the internet because on every single site I visit, things look so g.d. PERFECT. Usually I love this stuff – I assure you I am not immune to the pull of beautiful things.  And I should be inspired. But I guess that today, seeing perfectly lit and professionally shot photos of your expertly styled home full of expensive things is pissing me off.  Seeing super skinny women with shiny hair holding up their just-three-month old babies are pissing me off.  Seeing colour-coordinated sparkly donut parties are pissing me off.  I think that seeing SUCCESS is just filling me with a really unattractive brand of envy and I am having an internal ‘tantrum’ moment of my own.

SO.  Time to laugh it off (this is just the kind of dumb thing that’s helping a little bit).  Go for a walk.  Swear off Pinterest for the rest of the day.  Deep breath.  Do you ever feel this way?

Update: I just came across an eloquent post from a couple months ago by Victoria (SF Girl by Bay) that addresses some similar feelings.  It’s a good read.