May 06, 2016

Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a Japanese expression that celebrates imperfection, transience and impermanence. Valuing and finding beauty in the aged, damaged or worn, and recognising the cycle of growth and decay.

I imagine that my clunky western words may not be doing it justice in it's description. I imagine that it's a complete mindset that may be difficult to describe.

The more I read about it the more it seems to be a way of thinking and feeling aware and embracing the passing of time and the impermanence of everything around us.

My attention is always grabbed when I see the words 'Wabi Sabi' in a book or magazine article as I am a lover of all that is rustic and worn. I love peeling paint, mossy paths, rusty tin and weathered wood, darned & mended items and the texture of all the stitches that have closed up the hole.

My paintings usually have layers and scruffy paint effects in them. I like to think that I am creating a sense of 'time' with the layers of paint in my art. Looking around my house I realise I've been living with this appreciation and love for 'Wabi Sabi' without even knowing there was a phrase in another language that names it!

I had a quick tour around my house and photographed things that I think embody the nature of Wabi Sabi.
Old mirror love
A repurposed plank
My upcycled rug
A hole in my curtains that I always admire. Weird, I know. Look, a stain! Bonus!
Our dining table that is made from wood from an old bridge that was torn down. Now the new version has varnish that is starting to wear away. I on purposely sit there and scrape away at the varnish and leave coffee cups on it WITHOUT coasters. Gasp! :)
A chewed pencil (no, I didn't chew it), coffee stain, old tin and rustic desk
My paintbrushes and desk embody ultimate Wabi Sabi properties!
I love old looking frames (of course even when they're new and made to look old), and there's an old doll there I found in a junk yard. Junk yards are bliss.

I love crafty markets and op shops rather than glitzy department stores full of mass produced items. I have much more satisfaction when something is mended than when it's thrown out and replaced. I love when gardens meander and grow in and out of places creating a forest-y unkempt feel. (We once had a little vine plant that grew in the side of one of our ducted heating vents into our bedroom. I loved that!)

And I've really been loving painting on plaster boards lately that I make myself. They easily allow me to quickly build up layers and achieve that 'Wabi Sabi' look. I can get watery paint to sink into the plaster, or I can paint it on thicker with medium and it floats on the surface. The texture of the plaster allows me to dry brush and scrumble paint over the top, or wipe paint off whilst still wet and it remains in the crevices. Here are a few I've been working on recently.
This one is unfinished
Detail
Detail
I made this one up as I went along
Detail
Succulents
Detail
Detail of a favourite corner

Maybe Wabi Sabi can help us to not be so precious about things in our lives. To take a closer look at things that are old and aged and appreciate the history in them rather than just seeing ugliness upon first view. I think it's also a good reminder to cherish those moments with our young children, who are changing and growing so fast (insert cliche alarm here). Or to look at that hole in your clothing with fresh eyes and see the beauty in the frayed threads. 

May you have an inspiring day :)

Jules.


1 comment:

Sarah Summers said...

I love your blogs so much Jules. What an inspiring and thought provoking read. Old and weathered things hold many stories and pull at your heart strings. 💜

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