No, I'm not referring to something you'd find on the menu at your favorite Japanese restaurant! Wabi-Sabi is of Japanese origin that celebrates the imperfections in life. It is Wabi, the "humble," alongside Sabi, "the beauty of the natural progression of time." Rather than pursuing perfection, it brings appreciation to the simple, unaffected beauty of things as they are, such as the cracked pot, the beaten up chest of drawers, and the rusty old wagon, once a beloved toy, that now sits in your garden as a planter for Spring flowers.
Being a Folk Artist who also has tendencies to be a perfectionist, I sometimes have trouble honoring the concept of Wabi-Sabi. In my zeal to make the "perfect" piece, I lose sight of the very feel I'm trying to evoke from it. It's the simplicity and natural charm of Folk Art that make it so pleasing. When I create, I WANT my art to look time-worn and home-made, imperfections just add to its character. I want you to want to touch it! Run your hand over the soft, warm wool. Feel the notches in the carved wood. Check out the distressed crackled finish and feel the smooth vintage buttons between your fingers. That's what makes the piece "perfect" in my eyes.
To me, Wabi-Sabi and Folk Art go hand-in-hand. Both honor the character and beauty of everyday life. The next time I find the perfectionist in me stealing my joy, I'll close my eyes and say, "Wabi-Sabi". Not only do I respect its meaning, but it's so much fun to say out loud! Try it, you'll see what I mean. Oh, just try it. You know you want to!