“Pared down to its barest essence, 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.” NobleHabor.com
I am mounting a collaborative art exhibit for this fall at a local co-op gallery where I have my work that will be called Beauty in the Broken Places. This exhibit will be multi-layered and quite fascinating as about eight different artists – and a poet – interpret that theme in their own medium. Of course, one of my primary mediums is artisan jewelry, but I will also be exploring mixed media and some sculptural items. (Please send me all your extra minutes as time is running away from me for getting this going!)
One of the concepts that started this journey was wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is the concept of the impermanence of beauty, that there is a beauty in the broken, the rusty, the old. Since I have this idea on my mind quite a bit, I went seeking some rusty inspiration.
I came across these pictures of old gears, crusted with time and disuse. I love the bloom of verdigris and the splotchy coppery browns. The shape of the cogs intrigues me, like flowers in a garden. Taking something that is very hard and making it soft is an intriguing proposition. I love opposites. There is a stillness, a quietness in wabi-sabi. A peace in allowing time to pass and age to show. I love this concept and I am excited to show that in my work.
Wabi is a word that once was rooted in sadness and desolation, but has come to be more poetically embraced as a concept of austerity, contentment, humbleness. Someone who embodies the wabi way is content with herself and surroundings and doesn’t crave anything more than what is. Something to strive for, to be certain.
Sabi essentially translates to “the bloom of time.” I quite like that. As in a garden of blossoms that gets more beautiful as the bloom of rust grows. Patina is a beautiful thing, as are cracks, especially those that change the face of a piece and make it even more interesting than if it were somehow “perfect.”
There is a fine line between tattered and shabby, and wabi-sabi celebrates the former and shuns the latter. Antiques in a home that is dirty and decrepit make them just junk. But antiques well cared for and allowed to age gracefully are true treasures.
Here are the beads that I selected for this Pretty Palettes challenge, all from Michaels (Bead Gallery). But you can find Halcraft beads at Joanns (Bliss Beads) and Hancock Fabric (Regal Beading Guild) as well, and I bet you can find some even more intriguing options than what I selected. You don’t have to use what I have selected, these are just suggestions (unless you like an additional layer of challenge!). Feel free to pick what suits your vision!
Beads, l to r:
MSKU# 10167843 – copper plated plastic ring spacers 10mm
MSKU# 10322351 – multi metal gear mix
MSKU# 10464338 – copper plated coiled wire 7mm
MSKU# 10464337 – copper plated coiled wire 5mm
MSKU# 10290562 – matte aqua agate round 12mm
MSKU# 10172429 – howlite dyed turquoise 4mm stone
So the Pretty Palettes challenge this month is to bring a wabi-sabi esthetic to this palette and group of beads. Are you up to the task?
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We will see you back here on April 27th for the reveal of our wabi-sabi inspiration!
Yup, yup yup! Totally diggin’ the wabi sabi thing, which is always a good excuse to say, “yeah, that part that looks like a mistake was totally on purpose!”
This inspiration is for you, Miss Erin! I knew that you would like this. Can’t wait to see what you will come up with!
Enjoy the day.
I LOVE these beads and this theme. I have always believed that perfection is the frenemy of creativity. I can’t wait till the beads arrive!
LOVE love love the color palette for April. Antique copper and turquoise are two of my favorite pairings. Will for sure be working on my wabi sabi :) Thanks for the inspiration!!!