Friday, August 17, 2018

the letter of the heart

Dear Tea Taoists,

In my quest to explain beauty and encourage people to make things, I often point to wabi-sabi.  Permit me to point you there, too.  It's a lovely concept of aesthetics, celebrating the effects of time on objects.  This short film presents a nice definition and history of wabi-sabi.  When you learn about it, you will have the feeling that you have always suspected these truths.

I remember encountering the term in an article in the Utne Reader.  The concept was familiar to me from studying Non-Western Art History, which is an exciting branch of art history that ignores some of the tenets Western Art History drags along through the pages and the ages; for example, the idea that progress, clarity of vision, and ever growing finesse in execution is the highest goal.  I know, ugh.  It's the equivalent of praising little girls only for keeping their rooms clean.  Double ugh.

If you peek into Non-Western Art History, you find wabi-sabi, shaman, the Dreamtime, ancestor worship, blood sacrifice, human skull adornment, fertility symbols, and latent power lying all about the place, relatively unused and under appreciated.  It's a great place to visit. 

Send me a postcard when you get there.