Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
14 July 2020

My interest in wabi-sabi began as I was learning more about Japanese aesthetics. A childhood interest in anime, karate and samurais cultivated into a life-long romance with all things Japanese.

As an outsider looking into a fascinating culture, it’s likely no surprise my initial encounters with ‘wabi-sabi’ were at a superficial level.

I first understood wabi-sabi as ‘anti-design’; if we define design by human intentional execution, wabi-sabi yields not to man but to nature.

Why is it difficult to understand what wabi-sabi means?

The inevitability of fate and a ‘returning to soil’ bring new appreciation to items normally categorized as ugly, misshapen or otherwise compromised.

There’s a unique nonchalance of ‘wabi-sabi’ that is calming and inviting.

Perfection as an ideal is an interesting human pursuit. I think it’s useful in establishing and maintaining personal discipline.

Conversely, “perfection” in nature cannot be engineered.