Wabi sabi is the beauty of things imperfect. The accepting of growth, decay and death in the natural cycle. It is simplistic and modest, the kind of beauty that waits to be discovered. It focuses on the appreciation of weathering, marks over time and the sense of being owned. Wabi sabi can’t be defined by a list of traits but more through aesthetic awareness that goes beyond appearance. A feeling rather than a definition through the use of words, this is described through the translation of wabi sabi; wabi meaning despondence, something sad and desolate that is in tune with nature, organic, and sabi meaning lonliness, the natural progression of time and the understanding that all things grow old and become less conventionally beautiful. However, sabi can also be used to describe something carrying age with grace and dignity.
I first thought that wabi sabi was defined by an object’s appearance. That these objects were distressed and weathered but from research I’ve found that it is a deeper concept than just the physical attributes of an object. Objects that are defined by wabi sabi are those found in second hand shops and car boot sales, those that have an obvious feeling of being owned and loved which is felt through some of their physical features such as marks, cracks and crevices. This kind of style is becoming more popular in interior design however the true meaning or wabi sabi cannot be replicated in an item from the high street. It consists of earthy neutral colours and the textures of nature; wood, leather and bones and the effects age has on them such as decay, rust and cracks.
I am drawn to second hand and antique items as I’ve always liked the idea that something has been loved, owned and has a history behind it and character before I can own and add to this myself. I think wabi sabi is a simple concept to appreciate as it is relatable, everybody has owned and loved a physical object despite how it has aged. These features become its memories make it beautiful in a less aesthetic form. Below is my interpretation of a wabi sabi style photo. I collected some old objects from my home, most of which have been handed down through the family, the main object of the photo being the clock with the worn face.