Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wabi sabi

What is wabi sabi?

Wikipedia defines it as a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete"... Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

The words that jump out and grab me in this definition are:

imperfect, incomplete, asymmetry, simplicity and intimacy

Wondering where this is going? Well...an idea had been floating around as to how to start book 4. Last week, when starting book 3, I decided that the fabric for the next book would not be whole, but would be cut up and reassembled willy nilly so that the pattern was broken.

With that idea in mind, I mentioned it to Pam when we skyped on Thursday. Also said something about concentrating on the treatment of where 2 pieces of fabric are joined. Once our conversation was over, a glance at the clock showed 1.5 hours before the little urchins would be home.

So...with 1.5 hours in the studio, an idea that just wouldn't let go and whispering just do it to myself, I did it.


Fabrics were set on my worktable


and a bin of scraps was opened.


I'd close my eyes and select a piece, from here or there,


of rusted and/or monoprinted cotton,


 pin it together,



go sit at the sewing machine


and stitch the layers together


with dark gray thread


along the short side.


Wabi sabi

20 comments:

  1. I'm up early too, Jennifer. I like what you have done, but wonder what the cloth would look like if you hand stitched it. Especially, kantha stitch.
    Joanne

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    Replies
    1. Good morning Joanne! I like your wondering. Thought the same thing about half way into the piece on Thursday myself.

      So far, I've been too impatient to hand stitch on the books Been in a "just do it" frame of mind and haven't wanted to slow down...which would probably be a good thing to do though. There's plenty of fabric to hand stitch on still - this piece is about 12 feet long x 5 inches wide...so far.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Valerianna!

      How's the snow up your way? Has it melted much yet? Hope you're doing okay!

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  3. I love everything about your process! Hand-stitching could be more 'appropriate' for a wabi-sabi work but I think it really doesn't matter. Closing your eyes when picking older scraps of fabric and placing them is genius. And the result -well, I always fall in love with your results!

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    Replies
    1. Hand stitching would definitely be more appropriate for wabi sabi work. I decided to....compromise. Yes. That's what I did. Sort of. In a way...

      The whole process of closing my eyes while selecting the next piece to be added was so outside my comfort zone, yet so freeing. I may just do this for a while and see what happens.

      I am eternally grateful for your thoughts! Enjoy!

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  4. J - I think what I love is taking the scraps and creating something new, whole and beautiful in its unique design. B

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    1. I totally agree Barry. The continuous flow of the unbroken fabric was appealing on the first 3 books, but it's this one that is going to shine...providing I don't screw it up, that is...and have so many more stories to tell.

      Enjoy!

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  5. i want to see more, as usual, but i also want to be guessing at the narrative, the map, the story

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    1. When it's complete, I'd love to hear your narrative for it, your story. As yet, I've nothing in mind story-wise. It was a "what if" concerning closing my eyes to select the next piece. Could I really do it? Could I really just sew on whatever my hand happened to pick up whether my eyes and brain said it looked good or not?

      Then again, maybe that's the base of the story...can one's mind and eyes (thought and vision) trust one's hands and fingers (touch) to know what is the right next step?

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  6. Replies
    1. Thank you! Been wondering how you are. Noticed you've a new post up...strolling over now to read it. Enjoy!

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  7. I love your process for this fourth book - the idea of deconstructing and reassembling, the random aspect of the 'scraps', the special attention to places where the fabrics join. Thank you for enticing & sharing. I can hardly wait to see where this one ends up! It's amazing how all of a sudden your long-time yearning to create books has just taken off with such a burst...it's such a great feeling to have the enthusiasm to run as fast as you can muster with a creative idea! Buon lavoro (happy working)!

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    Replies
    1. It's a bit surreal to finally be making books...especially since they are combining my rusting with the mono printing I did a couple of artist retreats ago at Pam's with my love of stitching. I've yet to have the patience to hand stitch on the books though. Meant to bring a bag of scraps for hand stitching during quiet times here, but, in our rush to leave for the airport, it was left on the worktable. Still, it will be waiting for me and that's good.

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  8. love the wabi-sabi aesthetic and philosophy --- have you encountered leonard koren's excellent itty-bitty book - 'wabi sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers'? gorgeous quick read

    my fingers are itching to get into some thread...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip about Leonard Koren's book - just ordered it.

      By the way...did your fingers get into the thread and do a bit of stitching?

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    2. yes, I agree - this is a "must have" book

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    3. Thank you eb for the thought!

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  9. Amazing what you can do in 1.5 hours especially if everything is out and the scrap bin is near..... and it's a joy to see scraps come into their own.

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    Replies
    1. Even I was amazed at how much had been accomplished in that time. I just kept selecting the next piece and sewing it on until the alarm went off signaling time to go meet the urchins' bus. As for the scraps...they're doing a little dance of happiness it seems.

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