Friday, October 9, 2009

The Wabi and the Sabi

I was given a copy of Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren several months ago. It thrilled me to have a name for the way that I love to look at the world. A name for a particular aesthetic view. This first book led me on a journey and that inspired me to offer an adult fall Wabi Sabi studio at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia. My seven adventurers and I are heading into our third week of discovery and exploration.

The first week I showed slide images that I had gathered through my cameras lens. Then we experimented with simple materials like charcoal and graphite on large sheets of white paper.

Yesterday it was time for the artists to share what they had discovered as they wandered through their week capturing images through their cameras. In the studio we played wildly with monoprints. I also gave them the assignment of visiting the blog of Ian Foster to take in the marvelous world view that he shares as artist/photographer. A Google of Wabi Sabi led me to his work and now I follow his blog so I can easily return and enjoy the beauty that he shares.
The main idea behind Wabi Sabi is a simplicity, an imperfect perfection...and that isn't something that can be easily described (I love that) yet it can come to be recognized. The primary element of Wabi is imperfect/natural and with Sabi comes an aged we could say that which has Wabi Sabi has a natural patina, a gentle aging. I like that. I hope that I personally can accomplish that as I continue to age :-) and in the meantime there are a small band of us at CACV delving into the opportunity to discover and then create our own work based upon what we find. I'll share how it unfolds over the next four weeks.

I thank Kay Hoffler, Lisa Campbell, and Carol Chewning of the Wabi sabi studio for these images.


  1. Thank you! Interesting images and concepts here, love the link to Abstract Minimalism...

  2. thanks Missy...we're having quite the time in this weekly studio...novices all...Abstract Minimalism is definitely helping us to see in fresh new ways.

  3. hi Donna, I love the wabi sabi concept, and found Ian Foster's work quite interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Thanks Sharmon...I'll be posting some of the completed Wabi Sabi pieces that my studio artists are now actively involved in creating.

    Aren't Ian's hosta photographs glorious!

  5. Lovely blog and it was nice to be exposed to something new. Your blog is very restful and the photographs are beautiful.

  6. I can't wait to see the results of your class on the blog! I bet monoprints and "Wabi Sabi" were a "perfect" combination.


Thanks for stopping '-)