Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Wabi & Sabi
Allow me to introduce Wabi and Sabi.
As I walked home on Portobello Road on Friday after one of my photography excursions, I browsed through the detritus at the outdoor flea market. I wasn't looking for anything; I was just killing time and seeing what was available.
However, Dave and I had been bothered by a blank spot in our living room, next to the fireplace. We want to avoid clutter, but at the same time, that area was just too white, too bare. We wanted a fairly tall object for the shape of the space. When I saw these two cats for sale at the flea market -- the largest about 2 1/2 feet tall -- I immediately thought, "They're perfect!"
I paid £10 for them -- about $15 -- and brought them home.
I really thought Dave might hate them. But to my surprise, he approved enthusiastically. We both like their weathered imperfections. I think they may have been decor in some public establishment, like a restaurant, based on the amount of damage they've sustained. It's entirely possible the flea market guy got them out of the trash somewhere.
Dave wanted to name them. We tossed around a couple of options, but when I said I liked their wabi-sabi type of beauty, Dave said, "That's it!" So now we have Wabi and Sabi.
Wabi-sabi, as you may know, is a Japanese aesthetic concept that relates to an object's imperfection and transience. It's seeing beauty in the wear and tear inflicted by everyday life. Or, as Wikipedia puts it: "Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs."
I can't think of better names!