On Wabi-Sabi Wednesdays, I feature excerpts from my upcoming book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, which was released this month. This post is an adaptation.
Clearing away things that don’t resonate for you from your home and your life is an important part of wabi-sabi. Just as important is building deep appreciation for the things that remain—the soulful, meaningful items that turn a house into a home. Recently, Mother Earth News Facebook friends shared about their favorite wabi-sabi items, the well-worn things in their home that bring solace and peace. It was so much fun that I want to play, too. These are a few of the handcrafted things, all palpably made with love, that I wouldn't want to be without.
This basket, one of dozens of items cluttering a table at the Tesuque, New Mexico, flea market, didn’t look like anything special at first. It looked well-made, if rickety, but it lacked the glamour of the brightly beaded baskets beside it. Yet it called to me, so I picked it up for a closer look. It held a faint smell of smoke in its weave, and the tattered leather band around the edges spoke of much good use. The tiny cream-colored shells were uniform yet irregular, in shades of beige with the palest yellow centers, and they seemed to hold the vessel together. I imagined its maker stringing those tiny shells around the basket’s perimeter, thought he’d be proud to know that despite all the knocking-about this basket had endured, not one shell was missing. Photo by Joe Coca
My grandmother hand-embroidered all of her linens, and I was lucky enough to score a few of them for my own home. I’ve had a set of my grandmother’s pillowcases since childhood, and it’s a tribute to her stitching that they remain intact. I think of my grandmother every time I lay down on one of these, and I know my dreams are sweeter because I feel her love. Photo by Joe Coca
My former husband and I spent an afternoon sifting through calicos and flannels in a quilt shop on the shores of Minnesota’s Lake Superior, pulling together just the right combination of sage greens, midnight blues and rusty reds to create this quilt’s floating star pattern. Over the next couple of months, into the winter, the local women created our quilt during their weekly bee. I love this quilt, but it’s reserved for my guests now. I’m sure the women of Grand Marais understand. Photo by Joe Coca