Little Things 182 : Wabi-sabi and the Idea Exploration of Its Meaning

I like the idea of Wabi-sabi, the art of imperfection, that I read from Rework. 

It values characters and uniqueness, every scratches, bumps, asymmetries, cracks and things that we normally call as flaws. The Japanese embraced all forms of original outcomes, even with all the imperfectness. It doesn't end with physical looks, it also goes with the invisible parts like how it feels inside.

"Nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. ", Richard Powell.


Physical example: 

I always wonder how some Japanese potteries are a bit odd, with bumps, patches and random cracked-lines, and they sell it for fortunes. Imagine if I do pottery and the outcome is something that look like this ceramic work *image below by Shiho Kanzaki, I would probably hate it. I think about what I did wrong and what makes it looks like that because I don't really see the beauty in it.

This is something that I never thought to accept as beauty, as something as it is. Apparently, people who appreciate the art of pottery can see things that I can't see.

I once saw a documentary on pottery and they talked about how difficult the process of making it as natural as possible and how beautiful it is for every each one of its unique outcomes. They talked about every bumps and cracks; "how this earthly crack came out" or "how this patches-colours formed".

I watched the documentary feeling confused.

The closest to what can be seen nowadays is the appreciation of manual photography. Some perfectionist photographer might say that the clearest, perfect-timing meaningful photos are what considered as a good photo. But we can also see people who appreciates Lomography, images taken by analog camera, all distorted, odd colour combos, pixelated, diffused or anything you want to call it as 'art'. Some people can see the beauty in those images as well. "Don't think, just shoot"? Well I can bet a lot of 'professional' photographers won't agree with you on that.


But that, is what I wrote 2 weeks ago. 

The more I read and do research about the word itself, the more I learn about other possibilities of the meaning of wabi-sabi. Some people actually write academic writings on this topic and the thought of it is as much interesting as the word itself. We have people that want to explain a single word, to the world. People actually care about a word. 

At first, I thought wabi-sabi as minimalism, when I read based on Rework alone. And then, after several Google searches, I thought it is something like appreciating the flaws in this material world and accepting something as it already is like the thoughts I wrote in the earliest part of this post. I wanted to understand more, so instead of reading things people shared on the Internet, I started reading academic writings from people who actually researched the topic deeply. The meaning changed to something deeper than the material or superficial appearance. 

It is like finding beauty and imperfection in the nature, something that we can't control like a decaying process of a leaf in the autumn season when we sit in the park alone. That feeling of melancholy and acceptance that everything dies eventually. Or finding appreciation in poverty like there is a feeling of liberation and beauty in leaving the material world even though it is not something that we normally can appreciate.

So it is important to what we feel and see inside.
"Wabi sabi is not a style defined by superficial appearance. It is an aesthetic ideal, a quiet and sensitive state of mind, attainable by learning to see the invisible, paring away what is unnecessary, and knowing where to stop." Tim Wong & Akiko Hirano.

I like the idea of how information evolves because in this world human is finding the meaning of everything. The great thing is the more we know, the more we realized that there are more things we don't know. Knowledge is something amazingly beautiful because it is infinite 

1 comment on "Little Things 182 : Wabi-sabi and the Idea Exploration of Its Meaning"
  1. This is a great write up.. I feel so at peace with myself. I don't know why, I just feel so.