Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Spanista Wabi-Sabi Appreciation Elevates Japanese Design Culture


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Spanista Wabi-Sabi Appreciation Elevates Japanese Design Culture is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the new impact on humanity of design in the too-much-touch-screen technology world.

A complementary article in this weekend’s WSJournal features a story about the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi and its relationship to new trends in design. Spanista believes that emotional wellbeing and joy comes through the wise practice of stimulating the senses. In this post I emphasize the ‘importance of touch’. Spanista’s belief is too much of one type of sensory stimulus will drive us to seek the direct opposite of it. Examples are – new versus vintage – smooth, and cool versus textured and real, perfect versus distressed or fast disposable and lasting quality.

Upon reflection I could not but help to think how the natural forces of life push us to seek balance in all things. The pendulum swings to the extreme in one direction and suddenly we find ourselves craving something to offset it in the opposite direction, which brings us back to realize our humanity.

Our society’s extreme usage of digital screens is fueling the craving for natural high touch design experience – or what Spanista calls psychic refreshment. The Japanese have a term for the new design direction that we in the US are craving  to feed our souls – Wabi-Sabi.

Expert Leonard Koren, author and designer attempted to interpret the Japanese aesthetic for our Western audience in the article ‘Wabi-Sabi for Dummies‘.

Mr. Koren states, “Things Wabi- Sabi are expressions of time frozen. They record the sun, wind, rain, heat and cold in a language of discoloration, rust, tarnish, stain, warping, shrinking shriveling and cracking. Their nicks, chips, bruises, scars, dents and peeling….are a testiment of their histories. You have to accept that things Wabi-Sabi are indeed beautiful – then you turn on to the wonderfulness of the unique, unconventional history of natural objects made of  paper, clay, wood, metal and bamboo.” His first book Wabi-Sabi for “Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers” was so popular he wrote a sequel “Wabi-Sabi – Further Thoughts” given the growing demand for America to understand this inspiring concept.

F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas  Japanese Design  Book  Wabi-Sabi Further Thoughts   Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers  Published Credit: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

Spanista Wabi-Sabi Appreciation Elevates Japanese Design Culture opens our eyes to our inner voice and needs in this fantastic environment of technological advancement. He believes Wabi-Sabi has become topical because of the pervasiveness of the digitalization of America – Spanista agrees. If you find yourself in a coffee shop or organic restaurant that’s  design is highly weathered or distressed and enjoying the atmosphere – you now know why.

If this Spring you find you have the urge for shopping for a natural aesthetic to refresh your home, you may now understand why. Spanista encourages you to indulge yourself in the psychic refreshment of the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic for you emotional wellbeing. Feed your soul though touch. Let us know what you find and how it makes you feel, ok?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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