Wabi-sabi, the art of appreciating imperfection. Has a nice little ring to it, don’t you think? But what is wabi-sabi exactly, what does it mean?
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art or aesthetic of accepting and appreciating the beauty of impermanence and the imperfect. Three characteristics among many that make up the fundamental basis of wabi-sabi include:
- asperity- roughness or irregularity of surface
I tend to embrace the imperfect, because in the world of vintage there are so many beautiful pieces including those with a few scars of imperfection. Imperfections are part of the story. Many vintage pieces have lived quite the life, often with world travel or small jaunts along the way.
At Audrey Would my goal is to offer pristine vintage pieces, but you will find some perfectly imperfect treasures in the mix. This little touch of wabi-sabi will always be noted in an item’s listing details in an effort for complete transparency with my customers. At the end of the day, I want you to love your vintage treasures as much as I do!
Take this gorgeous Mid-Century pinch spout pitcher, for example.It is made of smokey black glass, hand blown and has a beautiful profile that emphasizes its curvaceous lines. There is no makers mark other than a characteristic pontil on the bottom from the glass blowing process. I can’t verify for sure, but I believe this pitcher may be a Blenko piece from the 1960s. What’s not to love?
So, would it change your mind if I showed you this beauty has a small area of imperfection?
See the dark line where the top of the handle is fused to the body of the pitcher? This is actually a crack inside the glass. If I had to guess I would say the pitcher sustained a hard knock, but because of the thickness of the glass it did not crack through. Technically, this pitcher is still fully intact.
Now imagine this pitcher filled with a cheerful bunch of flowers or fresh cut greenery. The bouquet would be presented and the pitcher, showcased. The crack would suddenly become invisible to the eye. See what I mean about the art of appreciating imperfection?
Wabi-sabi in the Everyday
A few years ago I was out for a nice meal. The setting was casual outdoors in an established kind of way. At the end of the meal I was served this grilled pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.
I loved the unique shape of the dish, and the smattering of little flowers that were decorative but not overdone. If you look closely you will even see a slightly textured tone-on-tone finish to the glaze. Now, if you look again, did you notice the white spot on the front edge of the dish?
The white spot is actually a small chip. One could be disappointed about the chip, or choose to embrace this little imperfection and appreciate the dish as a whole for its overall presentation. This is an example of wabi-sabi. To be served my decadent dessert in a chipped dish intrigued me. This confident, bold move is not generally what one anticipates when dining out. Some might think it was a misstep by the establishment, but for me, it added to my experience.
What’s your take on wabi-sabi. Would you embrace the chip of this dish, or would you be disappointed and wish this dish had been thrown away?
Thanks for stopping by!
Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home