wabi-sabi through time





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6/29/2011
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
6/15/2011
In a wabi-sabi garden, plants are chosen because they belong in that garden and in that climate, and they’re allowed to strut their stuff if they’re considerate of the plants around them. Both plants and guests are encouraged to meander and explore.
7/27/2011
While photographing homes from California to Maine, I’ve found much wabi-sabi brilliance. My favorite shots of all time capture the magic of simplicity, the beauty found in age and the good instincts that wabi-sabi encourages.
6/29/2011
Salt glaze pottery, primitive colonial furnishings and pewter bring wabi-sabi into your home--while honoring our American traditions.
7/13/2011
Wabi-sabi is wildflowers, not roses; weathered wood, not plastic laminate; native landscaping, not Kentucky bluegrass. Pictures tell a thousand words.
12/15/2010
Planning a party? Let wabi-sabi’s influence lead to a casual, comfortable gathering.
5/25/2011
A flea market basket that called to me, my grandmother's hand-embroidered linens and a quilt made by a circle of women in Minnesota are among the wabi-sabi items that I wouldn't want to be without.
6/8/2011
My old wabi-sabi home stood witness to celebration, sorrow, our children’s first words and fumbling first steps, dinners shared at the end of each day. It provided all that a home could and should, and now it's my lesson in non-attachment.
5/4/2011
Mother readers weigh in on the wabi-sabi objects that give them joy and solace--from old books to heirloom quilts (and a few surprises). This community of kindred spirits embodies the art of appreciation. Enjoy!
6/15/2011
Wabi-sabi is underplayed and understated, a quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s a fragmentary glimpse: the branch representing the tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, the moon obscured behind a ribbon of cloud.
7/6/2011
Wabi-sabi is sinewy, flecked browns and yellowed greens, the myriad stone and moss shades, a slate-gray cloud’s washed violet underside. Like nature, wabi-sabi paints in multidimensional swatches that are never what they appear to be.
5/25/2011
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
7/13/2011
In the kitchen, we can cultivate our sense of aesthetics and function. Tools can be beautiful. Food can be art. Cooking can be meditation.
1/12/2011
Find out how wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that promotes attention, reverence, generosity and respect, can build the foundation of a happy home.
5/11/2011
A San Francisco architect brings wabi-sabi to his work through craftsmanship, employing natural materials to create a holistic environment that’s not cookie-cutter or slick, and eschewing ornamentation for what is needed and meaningful.
4/13/2011
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
4/6/2011
A quiet life filled with appreciation for simple things is the richest life possible.
5/11/2011
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
9/28/2011
There can be no greater happiness, the Japanese say, than to live a life that follows the natural order of things.
7/27/2011
Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it. With our egos out of the way, we can learn to simply observe.
6/8/2011
There's only one rule for wabi-style flowers: strive for a natural look, with seasonal blooms and branches arranged as they are in the field. Don't worry about perfection. Your "arrangement" is a humble admission that we can't improve on nature.
8/31/2011
In a wabi-sabi house, space and light are the most desirable ornaments. Follow these steps to clear the clutter so they can shine through.
8/17/2011
Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
5/18/2011
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
7/20/2011
We no longer have to make what we need to get by day by day, but for many the desire lingers—and even surges as a strong cultural movement from time to time. Making and growing things yourself is a gentle rebellion against a mass-produced world.
6/22/2011
  On Wabi-Sabi Wednesdays, I feature excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, which was released last month.  Wabi-sabi’s roots lie in Zen Buddhism, brought from China to Japan by 12th-century traveling monk Esai, who also picked up a few tea seeds while he was there. Zen, with its principles of “vast emptiness and nothing holy,” stresses austerity, communion with nature, and reverence for everyday life and everyday mind as the path to enlightenment. Zen monks lived ascetic, often isolated, lives and sat for long periods of concentrated meditation. To help his fellow monks stay awake during these sessions, Eisai taught them how to process tea leaves into a hot drink. Tea had arrived in Japan. Once it left the monk's hands, tea took on a life of its own. Around the 14th century, the ruling classes developed elaborate rituals that took place in large tea rooms built in a gaudy style known as shoin, with imported hanging scrolls and formally arranged tables for vases and incense burners. Tea practitioners proved their wealth and status through their collections of elegant tea utensils and lacquered serving ware during three-day weekends where up to 100 cups of tea--as well as food and sake--were served. All of the day's revered Tea masters pushed the opulent style, to the delight of Chinese merchants and importers.  
4/27/2011
Zen Buddhism's Seven Ruling Principles are wabi-sabi's foundation. They're also excellent guiding lights for a good home and life.
4/20/2011
Charles and Ray Eames are modern wabi-sabi heroes who brought fresh, spare furniture, without pretense or stodginess, to the masses. Their home was a wabi-sabi masterpiece.
9/7/2011
Not quite ready to get rid of family heirlooms and art that you don’t have space to display? The Japanese practice of rotating precious items through a special alcove, or tokonoma, on a seasonal basis is less painful than giving away or selling them.
1/10/2011
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
2/23/2011
Flea market shopping takes dedication and agility--and it's a ton of fun if you're well prepared.
2/16/2011
The four principles of Tea ceremony—harmony, respect, purity and tranquility—are the means to a good life.
3/2/2011
Together, wabi (humility) and sabi (beauty in rust) become more than the sum of their parts--a philosophy that promotes peace, serenity and respite in our homes.
8/24/2011
Giving yourself a quiet space for retreat and reflection helps nurture quiet, calm and peace.
3/9/2011
In Japan, wabi-sabi can be found in the small moments of beauty and acts of hospitality that pervade the culture.
3/11/2011
As we watch the devastation's aftermath in Japan, the world will learn valuable lessons from a culture that reveres service to others, deep acceptance and community.
3/30/2011
Strongly influenced by wabi-sabi's principles, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement railed against "the swinish luxury of the rich," ornamental excess and the poverty of people who lacked creativity.
3/16/2011
Today is not a day for selling books. It's a day for prayer and solidarity with the Japanese people.
2/9/2011
Your simply imperfect arsenal for getting the whole house clean--naturally.
11/29/2011
Use this chart to determine how long different foods should be cooked in a pressure cooker.
1/1/0001
Use programmable watering timers in your garden to help you maintain a regular schedule, keeping your plants well hydrated with less work.
3/23/2011
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
8/24/2011
Meditating has never come naturally to me, probably because of my goal-oriented approach. Wabi-sabi helped me see find peace in simple solitude (and long dog walks) instead.
6/1/2011
Alabama Chanin makes sumptuous fabrics from scraps, Mona Hoffman imagines the people she's crafting each lamp for as she makes it, and potter Shiho Kanzaki believes that attitude is everything. These are a few of my favorite wabi-sabi artists.
9/14/2011
Over the past 15 years the noise level in cities has increased sixfold; urban noise doubles every eight to ten years. Even in the country, we can't escape the sound of airplanes and engines. What can you do?
2/29/2012
A few thoughts about the activities here in southwest Missouri this spring, including plans for a garden, thinning and pruning trees, and salvaging urban logs
6/1/2011
Sen no Rikyu's simple, unpretentious ceremony using rustic, local tools usurped the elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremonies that were the norm in 16th-century Japan. His "aesthetic of the people" made Tea accessible to all--and endures to this day.
5/18/2011
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
12/18/2009
Time often isn't looked at as a resource - at least, not outside of corporate efficiency evaluations - but it's one of the most valuable resources any of us have. It's required for all the plans and hopes that we have, from learning to bake bread to building a self-sufficient homestead. How do you spend your time, and how would you like to?
10/30/2012
A New York Times article reports a recent, rigorous study confirming that acupuncture can ease chronic pain, including that from migraines and arthritis.
3/18/2013
The growing bike boom may be more than just a fad. It may be a full-blown movement toward a more sustainable mode of transportation.
7/2/2008
Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.
12/19/2008
Sometimes even — perhaps especially — those whose lives are full with experience, knowledge and good living can find that as their time begins to dwindle, there isn't quite enough. Not that that's anything other than as it should be.
7/26/2011
Readers share tips and ideas for saving time in the kitchen.
4/15/2012
Winter is over and the colors of spring are here!
7/27/2010
A spray bar and squeegee for washing your pets, all in one tool!
7/14/2008
Don't like weeds? Well, maybe this will change your mind. An article in the New York Times, discusses possible ways that weeds could help fight global warming.
7/27/2012
Taking a ride on an old steam engine.
11/7/2011
That extra hour of sleep was great, but your animals may not think the same thing about that same hour.
4/20/2012
Check out our time-lapse video of peppers growing from seed to sprout.
8/5/2014
Time management tools can help a homestead run smoothly as well as make the work more enjoyable. By focusing on different tasks in different seasons, assigning different tasks to different days and by sharing tasks, the work becomes both manageable and fun.
3/24/2011
Medical marijuana was a $1.7 billion industry last year--just shy of Viagra as pot-related businesses crop up across the country.
7/3/2012
A brief description of Manuel and Mary Ann's straw bale home and its efficiency.
6/3/2012
How we persist until our 11 cords of firewood is accomplished and then re structure our lives.
11/28/2010
In Japan, more and more people are combining farming with other work. My neighbors and I fit the pattern, but what's it all mean for the future of farming?
3/2/2010
The experience of growing one's first garden is a thrill one will never forget.
10/30/2011
How a non writer can with effort contribute in a small way. To read more on our life style go to www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com
7/17/2012
Drag them... pull them... tie them to a chair! Whatever you have to do to get your family to sit around a table and eat healthfully--do it! We are losing the simple act as gathering as a family a sharing a meal. Do you hear the dinner bell? Let's go!
8/25/2012
Where we go to reflect on life and relax.
5/16/2012
Summer intern Megan describes her first time gardening at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, planting cucumbers for the first time and watering the office garden.
6/10/2012
Getting started each day presents a major challenge to many people. With so many pressing demands, it's often difficult to know where to start. Feeling overwhelmed and panicked, you may end up frittering away your time. He's a trick to get you going.
12/28/2012
Many readers can't say no to spouses, children, bosses, and so on. To please and care for others, we often sacrifice ourselves, working long hours, exhausting our energy. There is a cure. It's a two-letter word that starts with n. Try it.
4/2/2012
My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.


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