Our old boat Eileen is a project that’s never likely to be completed. In my minds-eye there are grand designs and the hope that the ‘next big push’ will move it towards some degree of completeness – but it never actually happens. Time’s not on my side and life gets in the way. There’s just too much distraction and not enough daylight as the boat’s located just too far from home to make an evening’s work on it viable. Still, that’s not to say we can’t enjoy it’s rough-&-ready incompleteness. We can indulge in ‘glamping’ afloat perhaps, shabby-chic without the chic and, over time, we’ve cobbled together a camping stove and sleeping bag ‘make-do and mend’ mindset that works. The threadbare space, the unfinished rough-edges being seen as an antidote to slickness. The boat’s concrete materiality is a refreshing change from the temptations of the virtual world.
This year we’ve not been able to get a-boat as much as I’d like. This picture-post is about when we did and for a few days enjoyed the wabi-sabi of the boat
Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of things unconventional.
Introduction, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren
Wabi-sabi does share some characteristics with what we commonly call ‘primitive art’, that is, objects that are earthy, simple, unpretentious, and fashioned out of natural materials. ibid. p21
[it] fostered an appreciation of the minor details of everyday life and insights into the beauty of the inconspicuous and overlooked aspects of nature. in turn, unprepossessing simplicity took on new meaning… ibid. p22
Wabi refers to a way of life, a spiritual path, the inward, the subjective and spatial events. Sabi refers to materials objects, the outward, the objective, an aesthetic idea and temporal events. p23, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
a private domain, idiosyncratic, present-orientated, romantic…
…ostensibly crude, corrosion and contamination make its expression richer, encouraging an expansion of sensory information, ambiguity and contradiction. To everything there is a season.
Irregular, intimate, unpretentious, earthy, murky, simple.
Greatness exists in overlooked details. To experience wabi-sabi means you have to slow down, be patient, and have time to look very closely…
Things wabi-sabi are expressions of time frozen. They are made of materials that are visibly vulnerable to the effects of weathering and human treatment. They record the sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold in a language of discolouration, rust, tarnish, stain, warping, shrinking […] their nicks, chips, bruises, scars, dents, peeling, and other forms of attrition are a testament to histories of use [however] they still possess an undiminished poise and strength of character. ibid. p62
Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. ibid. p51