Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered – and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet – that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.
It probably comes as no surprise that I love wabi-sabi. I’m all about things that have aged naturally. I’m all about celebrating imperfections and flaws. I cherish character and patina, without getting too precious about it all. Above is a bowl that I found discarded at the side of the road in my old neighbourhood in Toronto. Someone was renovating a house, and had put a box full of trash by the curb. I saw potential in this enamelware bowl. I wanted it for my fresh produce. In this photo (above), I’ve just washed some greens from my parents’ garden.
Below is another favorite bowl (I have a bit of a bowl fetish), given to me by my mother. It was made in Italy, and she bought it for me on a whim, because she knew I liked traditional European things, and that my favorite colours for kitchenware were blue and white. A week or two after I got it, I accidentally chipped the rim while handwashing it. I simply glued the chip back on, and have happily used my damaged Italian bowl ever since.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of wabi-sabi, you might like this Pinterest board, where I found the quote that I put at the beginning of this post. You might also like my own Pinterest board of rustic and junk style objects and interiors…