Wabi Sabi

Dear Laura and Friends,

I had mentioned earlier about my interest of the rusty and weathered.  I have always included this in my work and was recently pointed to resources about this called Wabi Sabi.

The meaning of this term from Wikipedia is:

“Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.”

I collect and collage objects (natural and artificial). My collections of weathered stones, rusted metal, books, or antique objects found in thrift stores or roadsides serve as direct physical connections to the subject matter I study in my work.  These weathered artifacts are a tangible link from my past, growing up with antique-dealer parents and to my present as a visual artist reflecting on culture. Working with found objects enhances my ability to create this personal and physical connection in ways that just drawing onto a flat plane cannot.

In writing this post, I wonder if this idea of wabi sabi has touched other artists (and non-artists) as something of beauty.  Perhaps others may think of it as an ugly mess.  I will leave you all with a few photos from a walk I took recently downtown Charleston.  Are these a moment of beauty or not?


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3 thoughts on “Wabi Sabi

  1. Dear Tina,

    Thank you for sharing such and interesting term “Wabi Sabi”. It is not only fun to say but even more enjoyable to witness. You explain your work so beautifully and the influences of your past and present are evident in your collections, work, and the photographs you shared.

    Regarding your statement, “I wonder if this idea of wabi sabi has touched other artists (and non-artists) as something of beauty. Perhaps others may think of it as an ugly mess…”, I believe that the artist interprets an aesthetic and the viewer or audience judges that aesthetic but the heart and our connections to the world around are responsible for deciding whether or not something is beautiful. It is evident that you treasure your collections and your tenderness, when re-interpreting these found objects, is beauty enough!

  2. Hi Millie
    Thanks so much for commenting. There is something about the worn and weathered that just gives me a sense of calm. Yes, beauty is certainly relative to the individual.

    I also want to thank you for spending the time to write on Laura’s earlier post about creating prints of original pieces of art. You certainly know WAY more than I do on that one so it was good to hear your voice on the topic.

    Wabi Sabi!

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