Wabi Sabi or an excuse to be lazy?

I intended that title to be humorous.. lemme try to explain..

. . but this aesthetic is a large part of what drew me to the ceramic medium (and just about any artistic craft), decades ago before I even knew what Wabi Sabi embodied.

In last session – while demonstrating different closed forms, I was asked by a student why I didn’t decide on a more “finished” style of plug for an olive oil jar, I had to shrug at first. I explained that it was just what inspired me at the time. I like celebrating the imperfections of the clay – how it cracks or responds to the squeeze of my hands. I don’t feel the need to be a manufacturer of symmetrical perfection at all times. That’s just me. I still find pause to appreciate slip-cast pieces or molded ceramics at times, but they give me no hint on the craftsman behind the piece. I hope I achieve that with some of my pieces. . . and the literal thumbprints I leave on them.

When Wabi Sabi was first educated to me, I’m reminded of the discussion I had with other artists at UC Riverside. Comments like “Hell, I’ve been practicing that without knowing it” to “It’s just an excuse to be lazy” were thrown out, but in the end we agreed.. there is a time when an artist just accepts a piece as finished – for him/her. “Here’s what I have expressed.. like it or not, it’s part of me.”

For the other functional artisans add “..hope it can be used”.


Oil Jar; Celadon glaze with subtle oxide brush work.


One thought on “Wabi Sabi or an excuse to be lazy?

  1. Fay likes your Wabi. Would like to reserve about 6 if you could possibly manage it in your spare time. Thanks…(your sis) Will be sending something for you later. Happy Birthday.—always wishing you the best.

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