Never Ending Summer

We love when summer drags on endlessly into fall.  The warm nights are dark and sweet.

The jackets come out to layer over summer dresses.

Prints and patterns are tamed down with neutrals.

 

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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Diamond buck wild.

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This summer, I’ve been hanging out in the woods with a group of photographers from the South end of Calgary. Initially, when contemplating “actually doing this”, the goal was to live off as little as possible and make as much art as our fingers could bleed out, feeding almost solely on the company and driven Earth hunger of one another. With the exception of a few glances backward on the drive out – a promise to Calgary, my recent home – some sort of awkward parent – the nights and road ahead have beamed with a dry crackle and flame, silvery incandescence in the place of city lights.

Ha, actually I didn’t do any of that. That was a bit romantic though, hey?

“This summer, I found myself in the woods”.

“I was lost, but nature, our mother, birthed a bridge between body and self”.

(This is where I’d cue the Eddie Vedder and insert a passage from Into the Wild)

 

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No, alas these images are not the child of an introspective walk in the woods.

However, for those of us who might be missing or craving some of those times, there was something a little bit transportive about going out on the lake, in this look, with a group of photographer friends from the South end of Calgary.

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For the record, I think this kimono has been my favourite piece of poem to the body, this summer.

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Photography by Matt Lowden.

Blanket details here.

hello spring!

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Spring has arrived here on the West Coast, and trees bursting with blossoms are a common sight!  We are so lucky to have such mild, short winters (most of the time), and this year was no exception (although we might get another cold spell yet!).  The gorgeous blossoms shown here are from our apricot trees in our orchard.  They are so lovely!

Now, I love wearing florals, and think that Spring is an especially good time for them!  This Angelina dress is classy and unique, with a bold pattern that is tempered by the dark navy background.  I’m in love!  You don’t often find longer sleeves on Spring/Summer dresses either, which is another feature of this dress that I appreciate.  No need for a cardigan!

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 My apologies to the rest of Canada….I hope Spring finds you soon!

-Kelsey, the farmer’s daughter

Prairie Fashion goes West!

Edit_IMG_1384As sisters, Jenni and I have a few common interests. For one, we both love creating. This year, we started a blog called ‘The Common Creative‘. It’s been so fun to share creative inspiration with each other, and with others too! Farminista is filled with creative fashion. Jenni and I spent a lovely weekend in August together in Vancouver, her current home. As longtime shoppers at the Tonic fashion boutique, we were happy to share in the fashion creative process with these beautiful pieces! 

 

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Kristen: This lightweight Lola kimono is the perfect layer to transition into fall. Laura thinks so too! (See a previous Farminista blog post) I see this lovely piece worn over short sleeves, long sleeves, and everything in between! This warm Vancouver day, I chose to wear it with a solid coloured tank, but mix it up with polka-dot print pants. And look how pretty it looks against those beautiful trees in the park!

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The Jerry denim shirt is another great fall layer. Pair it with a darker shade of blue like I did, or as the weather cools (don’t think too much about it yet!) I would probably layer an army green jacket over it, and a contrasting patterned scarf.

 

Jenni: I chose to model a dress designed right here in Vancouver. Each dress from this designer is one of a kind, reworked from a vintage dress. I loved that this piece came with a story behind it. There’s an element of unknown about the dress that gets my imagination racing and makes me feel connected to whoever might have donned this skirt last! This piece is also fantastic for the upcoming season with its warm tones and scoop neck t-shirt top. It would work so well for layering with tights and a jacket as it starts to cool down. I paired it with the Sweet Harriet teardrop locket necklace and these lovely Chanel inspired pearl earrings which are both so pretty and chic!

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How do you interpret prairie fashion? What’s your go to ‘transition-into-autumn’ fashion piece?

Take a look at The Common Creative for a few more photos in the park, and for a little insider interview with Roxanne!

 

Floral Print Dresses

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Make a statement this summer in a floral print dress

Most of the summer dresses we carry in our boutiques have bright floral prints or patterns on them.  With a short prairie summer and so many weddings and bridal showers to attend a floral dress is the perfect fit.  Many of these dresses are vintage inspired, the prints fill you with a touch of nostalgia and the silky, flowing fabric makes a statement for any occasion.

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Delicate accessories for a summer dress.

Floral prints don’t need a lot of accessories, a few stacked bracelets or wrist wraps, a softly coloured statement necklace and a thin belt just polish up your look for a summer wedding or party.

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We love summer flowers

We love to see how girls switch up their flower print dresses for different occasions.  When you fall in love with a dress and know you can use it for work, weddings and a hot date it makes it easier to commit to the dress.  We love to look at blogs for inspiration and Velvet & Vino blogger Becky did a fantastic job showing three ways to wear a dress with flowers.

This is one of our favourite looks from Becky on how to pull off an evening look in a fun, bright floral print, check out her blog; Velvet & Vino to see the other looks she created.

 

This Grace dress has been one of our more popular floral prints this season.  A dark base colour like the black makes it easier to pair with shoes and match your date.