What is Wabi Sabi?

The wabi-sabi aesthetic holds an appreciation for the imperfect objects in your surroundings, whether caused by age or natural formation.

This Japanese philosophy is in complete contrast with Western ideal of beauty by perfection. Take a moment to see the beauty in a repaired crack or in a weathered surface. 

Many unique objects in our collection are selected especially for their imperfections. The art of imperfection will give any interior a touch of unique beauty, natural serenity and the inimitable elegance of age.

What is Wabi?

‘Wabi’ roughly means simple, calm and inner spirituality. 

Wabi might mean the understated elegance and quietness found in nature: twisty branches, weathered rocks and the twilight days of delicate flowers. Wabi is also found in the quirky fingerprint left in the clay and unique asymmetries in handmade objects. Appreciating nature is embracing its beautiful imperfections. There is no perfection in nature as she is always growing and changing. It reminds you to enjoy the here and now.

What is Sabi?

‘Sabi’ refers to beauty and serenity that can only be achieved over time. Nothing is forever and life will leave its marks on every object and body it touches.

Wear and tear is imprinted by time in the surface of antique objects. Unique patinas and marks of repair are all part of the life of objects. These unique marks cannot be reproduced in a newly made object. Just like scars and wrinkles in skin, they remind us that there is beauty and serenity that only comes with age.

You can summarize wabi sabi like this: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. Beauty cannot be pinpointed in a single period of time, but can rather be found in every moment we wish to look at.

Wabi sabi design and interiors

Wabi sabi interior design has become popular nowadays: the wabi sabi decor often features wood, stone and as much natural light as possible. Simplicity rules in the overall design with clean lines. Decorations are sparse, but they are the eye-catchers in the room.

The wabi sabi style includes a lot of weathered wood: we see a lot of rustic home decor and shades of greys and browns in the simple furniture and empty walls. The natural colour palettes and weathered textures make a room intimate and relaxing. 

However, a wabi sabi interior can also be created with bright colours and modern furniture. Antique objects from Asia often were painted in bright colours which have developed into beautifully weathered patinas over time. Antique furniture and decorations can be combined in a modern and minimalistic interior to become more prominent and eye-catching. This juxtaposition draws the eye to imperfection and asymmetries which creates life in the interior. Together with natural elements, such as plants, branches and flowers this interior truly incorporates a wabi sabi lifestyle.

Wabi sabi pottery and ceramics

The most prominent example of wabi sabi art is a visibly repaired piece of ceramic. In Japan, this art is called ‘kintsugi’. Cracked ceramic vases or pots will be glued together or chips filled in with red lacquer. The visible red cracks with then be dusted with gold powder. The result is a small golden mark highlighting a rim or a golden vein tracing the body of the pot.

The point of kintsugi is highlighting the fact that somebody thought it was worth it to spend time and attention to repair this ceramic. The pot or vase has become more beautiful than it was when it was unbroken.

Another element of wabi sabi pottery is paying attention to the surface of the ceramics. The surface can bear marks of time or handling. The glazing of a pot can be uneven due to the firing process or the application by hand. The most beautiful wabi sabi ceramics have developed a unique patina over time. The colour of the glazing has transformed into a softer hue that is impossible to replicate in a new object. Some marks made decades or centuries ago by daily using of the pot or vase have soften and evened out over time. In these wabi sabi pots we can appreciate the true beauty of time.

Wabi sabi art

Many decorations can have a wabi sabi aesthetic: whether being weathered, carrying marks, having been broken and repaired, or created by nature and shaped by hands. We carry many objects in our collection that have can be appreciated in all these ways. 

However, besides being a concept of flawed beauty, true wabi sabi art also inspires a spiritual longing in a person: a longing for a simpler life without distracting thoughts and stressful environments. Being surrounded by an ever-changing, ageing, unique and natural elements ground us and connects us in the real world. 

Wabi Sabi decorations fascinate our senses by being imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

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