In this new series “Inner Life – Outer Style,” I will be talking with local women who inspire me both in their contemplative life and expression of self. I want to discuss style as a way to communicate our essence and connect us to something bigger — whether that’s a spiritual sense of being, or connecting to a community of intentional makers, or cherishing vintage items because of the story they carry. I like to think of the people who came before us and paved the way. Maybe that’s why I often feel empowered when I put on a vintage piece — especially from the 60-70’s era — a time rich with activism and celebration of life.
To kick off the series, I’ve asked my dear friend Jasmine to join the conversation. Jasmine is a hummingbird with endless creative irons in the proverbial fire. She is, among other things, a baker, illustrator, market manager, and aspiring witch. She feels at home in the rapid stillness of waterfalls, and surrounds herself with sweet supportive men and vibrant fearless women. Jasmine is the kind of woman who is perpetually covered in mysterious bruises and mustard stains, but manages to seem pulled together regardless.
1. What are your richest style moments?
When I was 4, I wore a tie-dye jumper and sparkly red Dorothy Mary Jane shoes no matter the occasion. I loved the jumper because it was easily removed should the opportunity to dance naked present itself. That outfit pretty much sums up my early youth. When I was in high school I went through myriad style phases and fell deeply into a punk/hippie phase replete with a shearling lined suede jacket with shearling lapels and cuffs. Very Penny Lane via Almost Famous. It was something of a security blanket for me. I eventually transitioned into a uniform of men’s dress pants from the 60’s and 70’s with a Hanes tank top and Birkenstock sandals (year round). Also a removable black bra strap as a choker. Amidst the shedding of phases, I had a “frenemy” who called me out as a poser. In response I very angrily made a shirt that said POSER with some lengthy diatribe about how we’re all posers because we’re all trying to figure out who we are. That pretty much sums up my reaction to being confined to labels and expectation.
2. Who inspires you the most these days and how does that inform your dress?
I am eternally inspired by Kate Bush, Stevie Knicks, David Bowie and Prince: unapologetically unique magicians. I’ve always been very drawn to people with a very avant-garde approach to personal style. People who refuse definition. I’ve never felt like I really fit in anywhere, label wise, so my style reflects a chameleon like ability to live somewhere in between. In the real world, I’m very inspired by all the strong women I surrounded myself with and the ways in which they express their own style.
3. What inspired you to start the Bozeman Flea and what did you discover about yourself and your community through the process?
I started it because I have a thrift addiction and I needed an outlet. I was frustrated that there was no outlet for vintage collectors, or a curated market with the sense of style I was looking for. Ultimately it ended up providing me with a community that felt nourishing and inspiring. Growing up in a small town, you can get stuck in social situations that are more habitual than nourishing. Through The Flea I discovered this whole world of makers and collectors that I connected with on a deeper level. It’s like they had been there all the time but my eyes were closed. It also forced me to realize that I thrive on collaboration. I come from a studio art background, a traditionally ego driven pursuit, and it was exciting to realize all of the magic available when you invite other people into your creative process.
4. What three items do you cherish the most and why?
1. A beaded rose quartz necklace that my mother made for herself in the 80’s. It stands the test of time, it’s beautiful and looks great with everything. There is something very centering and calming about rose quartz, the energy is very easy.
2. Montana agate ring made by Marielle of Young in the Mountains, a native Montana artist. It feels like a powerful stone. It also reminds me of how far I’ve come. Quiet power. It wasn’t cheap and represents what I’ve made of myself.
3. A “rosary” that I made for my BFA thesis. Its a turquoise strand with an enameled lion head center piece with a drop down buttercup flower where the cross would traditionally be. It was part of a Dia de los Muertos style shrine I built to celebrate my childhood through an assembly of personalized iconography: A collection of spiritual tools, reinterpreted to fit my own needs.
5. What does your spiritual or contemplative life look like? And how does that inform your work, personal life and style?
I didn’t grow up with any organized religion and spirituality has always been a part of my life but in an ambiguous and non-structural kind of way. I’m just now beginning to formulate some kind of spiritual practice. I’ve always been drawn to Wiccan practices and theology based in the natural world. I’ve never felt like I’ve need a specific diety to pray to. It’s more of a connective energy. My entire life has been in artistic pursuit, if I have a religion that’s it. Making things and creating a life for myself was always my primary objective and I’ve only recently started exploring a spiritual contemplative practice. More and more, I’m leaning towards tarot and herbalism. It’s really exciting to me and that connection has always informed my artwork. Flora and fauna are the most common subject in my work. The techniques that I’ve developed are all about using organic materials to create graphic visual dynamic elements without resorting to modern conveniences. I’m tired of using new fangled shit. I’m far more interested in going back to the materials that we’ve always know and giving them new life. I don’t have a strict style because it’s so much tied to what I’m going through and how I’m manifesting my creativity. Lately, I’ve been leaning in a direction that’s a bit softer and more elegant and quieter. I think it must have something to do with this new phase of inner contemplation. I’ve been welcoming more quiet and still energy into my life. For a long time I thought that frantic chaotic energy was where the magic lives, but it’s a dangerous space to live in. I’m discovering that I can be just as creative and exploratory without all the inner noise and turmoil.
6. What do you most desire both in your contemplative life and your style?
I feel pulled in a million different directions all the time. There are so many creative outlets that I’m good at and drawn to. I’m constantly struggling to focus and make peace with a decision or particular path. What I really want is to have confidence that I’m on the right path, and find solace in the knowledge that I can always change course. I just want to be here now. Whatever style, or phase I’m in: I don’t need to be anyone else or anywhere else than this.
7. What is your relationship to shopping?
I LOVE thrifting. I get a high off of the hunt. When I get into a thrift store I’m like an animal. I’m so intensely focused that if I run into another hunter, I bristle. I can get very territorial, and I can’t be bothered with social niceties in that space. It’s like my sanctuary. I’ve no interest in sharing it. It’s also a calming, meditative place for me. If I’ve had a difficult day, I’ll reward myself with a trip to goodwill. The feeling that I get when I find something incredible amidst a bunch of crap is really intoxicating. If I find something life altering, I’ll gasp, clutch it to breast, and look around to make sure no one will take it from me. Sometimes I’ll drop everything else in my hands and make a beeline for the checkout. Like I don’t want to push my luck.
8. What is your favorite season?
Autumn. I love the crisp chill in the air. When the temp hovers in the brisk 60’s. It feels like home. It’s very calming and energetic at the same time. There is an ease to fall. I’ve always loved layering. I only recently taught myself how to dress in the summer because wearing one item does not come naturally. Fall makes me feel more like myself. The more I can pile on, the better. I love scarves and boots, it’s painful to not be able to wear them in the summer. My favorite fall outfit includes high waisted black jeans with black combat ankle boots and a loose silk or linen skirt with a leather or jean jacket and scarf. I’m finally entering a place in my life where I can wear hats and not feel like a chump, so thats exciting.