Masters in Wabi-sabi

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For my mom’s birthday, my dad and I signed her up for pottery classes.  I knew she wouldn’t attend them alone, even though she’s been telling me for months to be on the look out for such an opportunity.  So I signed up as well, thinking it would be a great chance to spend some much needed mother-daughter time, but also as a good excuse to play with mud! 😉The only experience I had with pottery was the “creations” I made in middle school.  I’ve always been rather right-brained, but have had difficulty translating what I envision to any medium. This was definitely the case in my middle school days of clay work.

I created a rather right-brained piece that looks like a mound of clay that sprouted upward into the neck and head of a girl.  At the time I thought it was super creative.  But as a thirty-one year old woman, whose mother kept the piece (because that’s just how much she believes in my creativity), I’m frightened by the vast creepiness of the sculpture.

Needless to say, I needed all the instruction I could get so I didn’t come home with more of those “creative” creations.

The first class we attended was full of all kinds of emotions. Excitement to nervousness, sheer glee to complete frustration, with a bit of embarrassment thrown in for good measure.

Our instructor, bless him, is full of positive energy and is gracious enough to celebrate all of the creations that come forth from our efforts.  Centered pieces and not-so-centered pieces alike.

Apparently my mom and I are much better than we ever imagined we could be, especially for a certain type of artwork.

Have you ever heard of wabi-sabi?

Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a type of Japanese or worldview that focuses on the acceptance of imperfection.  According to Wikipedia,

“The words wabi and sabi do not translate easily. Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society; sabi meant “chill”, “lean” or “withered”.  Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations. 

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.”

Masters of Wabi-sabi-insert
Some of our creations

“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

Sounds like my kind of art form, eh?  Imperfect vessel, wabi-sabi. It’s all the same.

When I entered our first class, I was nervous that I’d never create something that was worthwhile or would meet the expectations of the instructor.

When I walked out of that first class, I had learned to accept the imperfections of my work, to embrace the beauty in the irregular shapes, and marvel at just what was able to be created from a mound of dirt, some water, the speed of a wheel, and my hands.

Masters of Wabi-sabi-insert2
Outside my pottery class
[Tweet “I’m covered in earth and feel so alive. I am the potter, yet I am the clay.”]

Has there been a time in your life that your imperfections were placed on display?  How did you handle the realization?

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    1. Aww thank you, Karrilee! I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment! Hope you have a great weekend. Be blessed!

  1. I love this! It’s beautiful. I love that meaning. I actually just got a coupon book from my husband and one of the coupons was a day making pottery! Can’t wait!

    1. Thank you, Katie!! So excited for you and your day of pottery making. I hope that you’ll take this lesson and apply it to your creations as well. Sometimes there is more beauty in the imperfection! Have a great weekend!

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