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2013/11/20 / Gillian


Now that we have rallied from our PPD (I’ve hidden the BBQ chips), it’s time to dish a little about our trunk show.

We wanted to have a proper in vivo launch for the new incarnation of The Symmetric.  Part cocktail party, part art opening, part pop-up shop, part dream (according to one lovely guest), it was just the concoction we were looking for to fête our new venture and to show our wares to friends in our community.

vintage clothing holiday collection trunk show

Featured at the trunk show Saturday evening was our selection of vintage and antique fine and costume jewelry, as well as vintage holiday clothing and accessories.  In addition to the wardrobe pieces, we displayed limited-edition book art prints, custom shadow boxes with hand-gilded milkweed and thorns, and large-format nature photographs. Shanan’s home (Symmetric HQ and fondly dubbed “The Orchard”) provided a perfect backdrop for the soiree. Filled with so many wonderful women and friends, we were truly tickled pink with the evening. And yes, the rumours are true: we are already whispering ideas for the next one!

Would you like to see some more photos?  Of course you would.


vintage book art prints gallery wall

Vintage book art prints (soon to be available in our upcoming online shop).


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2013/11/04 / Shanan


Hey blue sky.  You’ve probably noticed the new additions to the site that quietly went up this weekend… Gillian and I are all giddy over here (think schoolgirls, only with fine facial lines!).

The part we’re perhaps most excited about is creating our first mini vintage lookbook together (if you haven’t seen it yet, please do go visit The Symmetric’s new main page and click on the ‘lookbook’ link).  We wanted to show some of the great vintage clothing and jewelry in a more editorial light and to set a tone for what we want to put out into the world.  It was a project we certainly didn’t have to do but decided to really just run with – and I’m so glad we did.

I’m not a professional photographer by ANY means, and Gillian will be the first to guffaw over the prospect of modelling, but we put our insecurities aside (briefly! briefly!), our game-faces on, and rocked the wilds of Nottawasaga Side Road the likes of which have never been seen.  Indeed, the neighbours driving by in their pick-up trucks thought we were certifiable.

Here are a few bonus shots that we still loved but that didn’t quite make the cut:


The Symmetric lookbook extras

The Symmetric lookbook extras

The vintage clothing will all be available for purchase at our inaugural trunk show (more on that later this week) and then in our soon-to-launch online shop.

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2013/10/16 / Shanan


(Let’s just get this out of the way – nope, not pregnant)

But there are changes afoot here at Symmetric HQ.  When I started the blog last spring, I had no agenda other than to write, share, and fumble my way through a bit of a creative dry-spell.  And it’s really felt great to put something, however small, out into the world.  It’s forced a certain amount of vulnerability on my part, which is terrifying good.

Blogging (still hate that word) can be a lonely pursuit, though, and I’ve been craving connection as well as secretly needing a push to take things further.  Enter — Gillian, my new partner-in-crime.

It is with affection and excitement that, starting next month, she and I will be collaborating here on the site and on a new venture, an online shop featuring vintage clothing, really special jewelry, and signature hand-crafted goods. The Symmetric empire is under way!  Ha.  No, really.

I will properly introduce Gillian in a few weeks time, as the subject of the next Natural Habitat installment (see the first two in the series here and here).  In the meantime, the blog will remain the same with myself at the helm, and then we will start shared posting duties as well as updating some links around the site to reflect the new partnership.  Change can be a weird thing, but this is going to be rad — I promise.  Looking forward to telling you more… soon, soon.

Image above: Michele Varian ‘Eudossia’ juxtaposed porcelain side plate.

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2013/08/20 / Shanan


Last weekend Leticia and her little boy came up to stay, and after the kids were in bed and we’d made elderflower liqueur cocktails and settled into the deep leather couch that’s nearly impossible to get up from, she brought out the most gorgeous set of tarot cards I’d ever seen.

California artist Kim Krans is The Wild Unknown, and her interpretive illustrations feel like ancient engravings as rendered through the filter of hippie/hipster iconography (which I say as a compliment).  Every one of the 78 cards is lovingly detailed, yet still possess a certain mystery – a darkness, if you will.

The Wild Unknown tarot cards Kim Krans

I’ve always had an interest in the forms of arcane knowledge that go along with reading palms, deciphering dreams, drawing up astrological charts.  I mean, colour me surprised if you were once a teenage girl and you weren’t into these things.  But I’d never really done tarot cards, maybe they always felt a bit scary?


Leticia is still learning, as reading the tarot is something of an art.  I visualized my question and pulled out three cards (future, present, and past).  I asked about my creative path and where to focus my energies, and these were my cards.  She read to me from the tarot book and we talked about what the messages might mean to me.  It was a very positive reading and an opportunity to reflect on how I’ve been feeling about this inspired shift which has occurred over the past few months.

The Wild Unknown tarot reading book

The Wild Unknown Kim Krans tarot card strength lion

The whole experience was so intriguing that I think I might have to get a deck for myself. Leticia bought hers at Far Away Eyes in Toronto.  The set can also be purchased through The Wild Unknown website (Kim sells beautiful posters as well) and online at Bona Drag (also featuring ‘The Tarot Collection‘, an amazingly cool collaboration of silver rings and pendants with jewelry line Unearthen).

Have you had your tarot cards ‘read’ before?  Any secret tips?

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2013/07/31 / Shanan


I am VERY excited today to bring you the first installment in a new series on The Symmetric, which I am calling ‘Natural Habitat.’  I mentioned last week that one of my goals for the site was to profile creative, interesting women.  It started with wanting to do my own brand of the ubiquitous house tour but it’s starting to come together as something a little more intimate, I think, than I was expecting.  I tend to get transfixed by the overall ‘vibe’ of a home and then, all the little details that make it so.  I never tire of looking at all the glossies but here I wanted to focus on something a bit more real, on spaces that are more or less unstyled and truly lived in.

I am also endlessly fascinated by routines and the quirks that emerge from a glimpse into where someone lives. This time, the conversation usually starts with the mundane, the small steps that take a person through the motions of the everyday and subtly mould and propel them towards the biggies –  their personal philosophies, their careers, their sense of self.  Whew.  Do you need some air?  Let’s pace ourselves here.

Kristin Somborac is my first subject, the guinea pig if you will.  She is an old friend of Chris’ and we connected when she was pregnant with her first baby; we were neighbours in Toronto at the time and I helped her paint a mural in the nursery.  I find Kristin disarming because she is exceedingly easy to talk to and has a subtle, sweet naiveté about her, while at the same time being a very direct person and actually quite tough.  She doesn’t take sh*t from anyone.  To wit, she may also be the only individual I’ve seen in real life who can pull off harem pants.

Kristin, her husband Rob and their two boys, Miša (4) and Paavo (1) live in downtown Toronto’s west end neighbourhood of Parkdale.  Their place is nestled inside an amazing little courtyard of historical townhouses, complete with antique gas lanterns and climbing ivy.  When I visited Kristin she was home for the morning with Paavo.

parkdale historic townhouse courtyard

“Rob is in film, he’s a focus puller. I was in film for about 15 years but I really changed things in order to have children and now I’m embarking on my latest venture, which is working as a creative director/fashion consultant and stylist.  I really wanted to have a job which would allow me more time with my family, instead of being on set 14 hours a day!  Being a stylist feels so natural in terms of a next step that I don’t really worry about the fact that I am starting a new career at this stage of life with two kids.

I knew that I needed to have a job which was driven by creativity but at the same time I love the organizational aspect in work.  I think it gives me a feeling of control.  Once you have children there is so much you can’t control and you have to let go.  And I have really been craving the feeling of accomplishment which comes from finishing a project, which has been a big part of motivating me to move forward.”

eames lounger mid century modern living room park dale