Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Acquisitions #2

I bought a few things over the past few weeks. Not because they are useful or necessary, but simply because I thought they were beautiful. The first (#1) was the Ngoni stool in the previous post.
The second is this hand-painted barbershop sign from Tanzania. I have a thing for barbers and barbershops. At one stage my grandfather was the oldest practising barber in the country. And L'Usband, although not a barber by profession, has been cutting my hair for the last 10 years. I wouldn't think of letting anyone else touch it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wabi-sabi - a philosophy.

I recently read this book by Leonard Koren after annekata mentioned it.

A small, unassuming book, printed simply, with a few black and white photographs ...
Leaf decomposing on sidewalk - Leonard Koren

 ... short enough to read through in one sitting. It has kept my mind occupied for over a week now. So, not the kind of book that you read and promptly forget when you close it.

It sets out Koren's idea of what wabi-sabi entails, and starts out like this:
"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."

He goes on to describe the links with Zen Buddhism, attempts to explain the subtle differences between wabi and sabi, compares wabi-sabi with Modernism, and then sets out what he considers to be the wabi-sabi universe - its metaphysical basis, spiritual values, the state of mind it fosters, its moral precepts, and material qualities.

I think the Ngoni stool I purchased recently embodies some of the elements of wabi-sabi. Unadorned, sturdy, rustic, imperfect. Used. Although wabi-sabi is not necessarily about functionality, I like the fact that my stool can be used (and has been used) as a neck rest, a stool for meditation, a cutting board, and to hold tea lights.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tick Tock.

I received a lovely gift from a friend last week - all the way from New York. One of her original illustrations! An artist and illustrator, she also writes (and illustrates) these two blogs: here and here. Her work reminds me of that of Maira Kalman - she shares the same ability to illustrate a perfectly ordinary event or object in such a way that one can't wait to turn the page (or wait for the next instalment).

Have a great weekend, dear friends. Have a cup of tea (rooibos, preferably); better yet, share it with a friend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wabi-sabi cover.

I knitted some (stress-) squares a while ago, and have now made them into a cushion cover. I knitted with cotton yarn and very big needles - I like the lacy look it created. Then I crocheted them together. Imperfect, humble, simple.

PS I am reading a great little book on wabi-sabi, I will post about it later ...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two new Things.

This is what I made - a necklace and a ring.

Definitely not to be worn at the same time - that would be too much of a good thing, I reckon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I discovered the gorgeous blog of Annekata recently - I love her style and her philosophy. She hand-sews everything - even her clothes. Now, I am not likely to hand-sew a dress or skirt, but I do like these embroidered circles she made, and they looked doable for someone with my limited sewing skills, so I made some of my own with cream cotton and black embroidery thread.

They are in the process of becoming something else - I will show you on Monday!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A while ago I won a giveaway by Leenie of Side Trips - and last week they arrived - two stunning watercolours done by her!

 Aren't they absolutely beautiful?
Have a colourful week, everyone! (Mine is going to be a bit watery, to go by the weather report ...)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Thing I made.

The book is with the proofreader at the moment. I have a week's rest, then I will get it back from her, and send the last changes to the typesetter. So I have had time to make a few Things. Here is a thing I made last night. I decided to use my second length of stress-related black cotton yarn I-cord & make a long necklace which I can loop around my neck. But as I mostly wear black clothes, it kind of disappeared against the black. So I sewed some beads (made from seeds) on.

It actually looks pretty cool when I wear it. Well, I think so.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The singing bird.

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.
(Chinese Proverb)

Art journal page (magazine cutouts, old envelope, baking paper, pattern paper, pen, ink, paint, accordion exercise)
Dear friends, keep a green bough in your heart. A happy week to you all.