A Word On Retrospectives

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Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one,

 

A man who isn’t much for spoken words,

 

But whose touch resounds on me

 

With the impact of Halley’s,

 

Falling,

 

Landing,

 

A whisper into the ground.

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These images mark the end of a season and the beginning of a very new period in my life. Late this past summer, I chose to try joining the journey I’m on with that of someone else and I’m learning that this kind of thing – a relationship – is intricate and case-specific.

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Men with short beards, softer sides and hearts that are a rich basin of complexity. This has been my jam for years and the variety of men like this with whom I’ve crossed paths have helped to teach me lessons each in their own turn. However, what I’m learning now is that, despite a wealth of lessons that develop later on into wisdom, relationships can’t be tamed and constrained by algorithms and lessons learned.

 

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My dad said recently of relationships: “[he doesn’t] think that anything is natural or normal”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this statement came up during a time when I was having difficulty establishing some sort of standard to which to compare my relationship. Since mulling on the truth of my dad’s words, I’ve been learning that generalities and norms won’t bridge the risk or heal the uncertainties that come with caring deeply for another person. The more familiarized I become with the beautiful and simultaneous contradictions that make up the man with whom I spend my time, the more I realize that there isn’t any reason for applying these general rules where close observation is merited. My boyfriend does things differently from me, and the more I learn his language, the more I’m able to recognize and feel the depth of his caring towards me.

Timidly, I am choosing the limbs and breastbone of one, a man who isn’t much for spoken words, but whose touch resounds on me with the impact of Halley’s, falling, landing, a whisper into the ground.

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Photography by Matt Lowden

The Endless Expanse.

The Endless Expanse.
Vast skies wrapped in colours
Speaking, changing, unafraid.
Raw emotion
Revealing the Artist’s tale
Masses one by one
Together cover the land
Blooming, swaying, unity.
Alive, flat, grand.
Far and wide
The eyes see
The lungs breathe
Unlimited space.
-Olivia Stephen

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“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” -Psalm 19:1 (NASB)

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I grew up in the prairies & they will always hold a special place in my heart no matter where I live. There is a sense of belonging & acceptance attached to them for me, whenever I come back it’s as if I’ve never left. I’m thankful to have been raised in such a beautiful place.

-Olivia

Intentionally Sensual Soup for the Soul.

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I have to start this blog off by saying how fun shooting in this particular look was, for me. There’s nothing like a plunge neckline and a healthy dose of black to make me feel like one badass babe. The Luxe collection is full of special dresses that can empower any woman.

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Now, whether or not I’m actually “badass” is up for debate. I probably stir up far less trouble than that word suggests. However, I definitely still find ways to take my day from mundane to “man, I’m glad I was awake for this” and what I’ve found makes that difference is glamour. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean flashing lights, good access to life-threatening drugs or any sort of celebrity style glamour . . . What I mean by “glamour” is whatever it is that you do to appreciate yourself, to decorate your day to day, a glamour that’s specific to who you are as a soul.

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For me, this often means compelling lipstick and an evening out on the town or sipping wine with a good read in hand. However, it could also mean eating carrot cake in a foamy tub while swimming in unapologetically sad jazz. Sometimes, glamour means licking the tips of my fingers clean after eating my favourite pizza in bed . . . Or being naked in a creek somewhere. In fact, moments like these usually require little more than an appetite for feeling and are easy to achieve. All that’s really required is that I take the time. In our conceptions of people we consider to be glamorous, I think the concept of excess is usually a key determinant. However, what’s maybe at the heart of glamour is actually excess feeling and the capability, as Rox pointed out in her last blog, to choose to slow down – not to slow down permanently, but to allow yourself time in a day to really sensually engage in an experience that you enjoy.

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Sensual, intentional moments of indulgence – this is what makes me feel glamorous.

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While the accessories and carrot cakes and pizzas or whatever do play a part, what rewards my soul most is taking hold my creative agency to curate a moment that I can fully engage in. Shooting in this look, the sensuality, the thrill-seeker and the woman in me felt both acknowledged and celebrated.

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For me, this is the difference between “treating yourself” in a way that’s often used to enable excess and between allowing our souls the time to feel acknowledged and rewarded. Even if it’s as simple as putting on something that makes you feel vibrant or listening to an album or two in full, eyes closed, allowing yourself to be glamorous through moments of decoration unique to your own existence is life-giving.

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There are few sights more beautiful, glamorous or more compelling than people actively loving themselves before our eyes.

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Stopping A Moment In Time

Pink_skyTime flies……

Especially in the summer, so this is the night I tried to stop it.

It was a combination of uneventful birthdays and too many anniversaries that got ignored, that made me what to really remember this year,

garden_partyI spent a few days collecting my favourite vintage glasses and plates, wanting every moment to be enchanting and memorable.

2Y5A0705lemon_thyme_spritzerAdded hundreds of sparkling lights, and lots of creamy white candles.

apple_branchFresh apple branches and flowers.

2Y5A0881Threw in a few of my favourite people.

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Music.

2Y5A0822A small rain storm to get people excited.

And suddenly time stood still.

It was in the silly moments that happen when people who don’t know each other find common ground, or when old friends are reunited.  I realized that it takes a little time and commitment to make time stand still.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy party, just a reminder or a plan to change up your mundane routine, and  try something new.

For me, it’s lots of little things that come together to make a memory that seems to stop time.

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Gadamer’s “Play” and Play in Life

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“By analogy, the work of art is also “the playing of it”. An autonomous event comes into being, something comes to stand in its own right which “changes all that stand before it”” (Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy).

The above quotation is a summary of contemporary philosopher Gadamer’s beliefs on the role of play in art. What I’m interested in talking about in this blog, however, is how the making and experience of art can be paralleled to the role of play in life. As Gadamer suggests, we as artists or rather people are players. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’m going to set up life, in this blog, as being an instance of play, an artwork.

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A confession: I have always been a perfectionist. Now, this has its pros and its cons. My own approach to art and to life is often contemplative and meticulous. This also has its pros and cons. However, last year I encountered this text by Gadamer, defending the relevance of play in art, and it prompted me to reconsider my relationship with play and spontaneity in my own life. In fact, when I think back to memorable evenings or events that have unfolded in my life over the past couple of years, impulsively unravelling at the rate of yarn and into the whim and tide of the night was paramount to every experience. As stated in the Stanford entry on Gadamer, “The game analogy also serves to undermine approaches to art which are exclusively intentional, material and conventional”. Relating this back to life, I find I’m still learning that there’s a lot of value in refraining from trying to wield aspects of the future (career oriented, romantic, or otherwise), that haven’t yet played out naturally, into my present life. I’m actively learning that there’s value in patience and in play vs. control.

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“Art requires materials certainly, and an appreciation of how a specific tool might be used. Yet neither game nor art is constituted by its equipment” (SEP).

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One thing that the quotation above got me thinking about is how we as people often allow certain conventions, fears, and social codes to erase the play from our daily experiences. I remember a time in my own life, as do we all, I’m sure, when I allowed recipes for social success to dictate how I outwardly expressed myself, leaving little room for play or experimentation with my own appearance. As many of us come to know in adulthood, I learnt that – contrary to my fears – my social life bloomed tenfold once I removed the restraints that I’d placed on myself and began to re-allow expression and experimentation into my own behaviour and my relationships with others.

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On this same note, Gadamer suggests, as paraphrased by the SEP, that “the act of spectatorship contributes to enhancing the being of the artwork by bringing what is at play within it to fuller realisation”. What Gadamer is saying here is that the unpredictability of our interactions with others are what bring art or, in this case, the artwork that is our own lives to full and euphoric capacity. Here, Gadamer emphasizes the role of other people in drawing out certain colours or qualities in things. This is so relatable to everyday life in that it’s important to allow both ourselves and other people the opportunity for play. While companionships that inspire us intellectually are important, Gadamer’s theory suggests, to me, that refraining from undervaluing the people who always make us laugh and who inspire the desire within us to become wild in a way and to experiment – to relinquish both composure and control – this is equally important.

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While I’d like to say that I’ve come to this realization on my own, it’s rather a handful of relationships that I’ve had the pleasure of forming over the last year or so that have taught me that it’s liberating to plan to be together but to otherwise not have plans, that it’s gratifying to experiment in conversation and to have relationships where all you do is joke. . all of the time! So, while there’s a time – many times – for being meticulous, our lives are made richer when we, daily, become changed by art and by a kind of play that transcends age, when play and work are all the same – are life – and not just part of it.

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Prairie Bohemian

It seems like I’ve had a women’s clothing store forever, always looking for the fun dresses or outfits to bring in that could boost the confidence of anyone.
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Year after year we always sell out of the most colourful and interesting dresses, anything fun and flowing with a hint of adventure is a sought after item.
Our http://bit.ly/24BagwY collection is filled with these Prairie Bohemian styles.
We sometimes wonder what makes our customers different from the rest of the country? Maybe it’s because people here in the middle of the prairies travel so much? or, because we have such long white winters with big fluffy parkas covering our favourite outfits, so we cling to colour and pattern.
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So many of our favourite customers come back from business trips and exotic world travels to let us how many compliments they get when they are traveling in their “Tonic” outfit. It’s so fun to know prairie girls have a distinct style, we love fashion, but with a twist, we add our own touch to an outfit to complete it, it’s the desire to be unique, true to oneself, fighting cookie cutter fashion by sneaking vintage favourites into an outfit to make it special.
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I’m so happy that before I moved to this big location that I had time in my vintage shop in a historic little house, it was filled with funky clothes, crazy shoes, and just a hint of raver fashion.
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Working with vintage items is a passion, mixing and matching nostalgia, loving an item and making it work with any outfit is the challenge with the reward of being you, no one else will have your look!
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