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

pretty among the plums

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Oh hey there!  It’s Kelsey!  I’m back, and so excited to share this gorgeous wine red maxi dress with you all.

My jaw dropped when I first saw this dress, and I instantly fell in love with the rich, red-purple colour.  I knew that I wanted to style it in our orchard, with our beautiful plum and pear trees in the background.  The floral lace overlay exudes such a wonderful, boho, feminine vibe, and the romper underneath ensures that you never have to worry about your slip riding up!

The dress dips nice and low in the front, so I paired it with a soft and lacey, purple bralette underneath.  What a dream!

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Now I just need to find a last minute summer music festival to attend, because this is the perfect outfit for one!

-Kelsey

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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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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BODY TALK

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Does a fertile amount of cleavage make you feel freer? Heck yeah?! Well then this is the dress for you.

Just kidding. . . this blog is not about cleavage. . . but actually, it kind of is. .

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A young and still soft-spoken girl, I remember arriving at summer camp one year, having enthusiastically put together the items in my suitcase that I felt best expressed who I was at the time. Unpacking in a golden oak cabin with other girls, I remember then being told by our dorm leader, a girl just a few years older than myself, that my mid-thigh shorts were not appropriate and could prompt other people to behave badly. Now, this wasn’t the biggest deal and didn’t at all stop me from enjoying my week away. However, before assimilating into the mass of other boys and girls that afternoon, I remembering wondering to myself, quietly, if my shorts could really be the cause of bad behavior in others and feeling as though my comfortability with my own body was somehow shameful.

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In light of this, shooting in this particular look, an ochre decoration on my body, felt something like going home.

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It also cued sensations similar to that of a trip down to Fish Creek that I’d made with a friend last August. Wading in shades of Nevada teal and parting the kaleidoscope of sun reflections on the water, that same sensation of being at home in my own body came over me. I’ve come to realize, in a very personal way, that acknowledging my sensuality and carrying myself with that in mind does not equate the loss of either my grace or purity. Quoting from a piece I’d felt prompted to write later that day, “In solitude, I enjoy both the impacts and rising curves of my body, acknowledging this sensuality as an approval of myself, to myself. This is personal. It isn’t for someone else”.

This ideology is also highly applicable to the way that we dress.

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In life and in instances such as this – my figure draped in a lushness that exposes the softness with which I was created – I think it so important to not associate our own bodies with shame. Regardless of the weight or slightness of our figures, being a woman is so beautiful. I will continue to shine, allowing myself to radiate through and be complimented by what I choose to wear on my body. Returning to the piece I wrote that day, I’ve worked hard to know that “my purity and grace are interlaced in the way that I carry myself. As a woman, these two things are not determined by the way that people choose to treat us.”

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xo

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Q+A with Preloved

Before our event on Saturday we wanted to take a moment to chat with Julia Grieve, the founder of Preloved, who will be joining us in-store to showcase the Farminista x Preloved line. We love her story and can’t wait to showcase more fantastic collaboration pieces!

What inspires you as a designer?

At Preloved, I get a lot of our inspiration from taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. For example, I’m often inspired by the vintage fabrics we source. Original button detail, plackets, patterns, pockets – we never know which direction they will take us in.

What is your favourite item in the spring Farminista x Preloved line?

The Jazz Festival Dress for sure!!! I remember when we were going over this style with Rox, she wanted the deadstock and the vintage to have some kind of contrast – how adventurous of her. But, I love how the end-product turned out, it’s so Preloved, yet with a touch of Farminista.

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Why do you still make your collection in Canada?

Being able to keep every part of our brand truly Canadian, for the past 20 years, is probably our greatest accomplishment. With the support of our manufacturer, right here in Toronto, we have been able to cost-effectively produce a line that is of the highest quality, and coveted on the world stage. Staying in Canada was a conscious decision and one that has been a key factor in our success. It’s pretty incredible to be part of the “Made in Canada” brand. We couldn’t be more proud.

What inspired you to start your business?

The best ideas are the simplest ones. For Preloved, it was taking something old and make it new again. I have always had a love of vintage clothing, and the notion that what you are wearing is one-of-a-kind. The only problem is sometimes vintage clothing can have a bit of a “costume” feel…but, if you update it to give it a modern twist, then you have an incredible one-of-a-kind piece that is perfectly on trend. That was the idea behind Preloved, 20 years ago, and still is today!

Thanks Julia, for taking the time to answer our questions and we can’t wait to have you at the Tonic shop on Saturday!