Monday, November 17, 2014

To be in a shoe . . .

There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

A fold-up greeting card.

The most common version of the rhyme is:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

The original illustration of Mother Goose Rhymes.

The Jell-O version of the rhyme.

The earliest printed version in Joseph Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland in 1794 has the coarser last line:

She whipp'd all their bums, and sent them to bed.

Many other variations were printed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Marjorie Ainsworth Decker published a Christian version of the rhyme in her The Christian Mother Goose Book published in 1978:

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children,
And loved them all, too.
She said, "Thank you Lord Jesus,
For sending them bread."
Then kissed them all gladly
and sent them to bed.

When in Adelaide earlier is year, I was in a shoe. Machtild, my Ozzie daughter, said she never thought she would saw me in public in slip-slops!

Friday, November 14, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 4

There was a Christo man and he ran a Comrades race,
He worked for a bag of coins in a Chemical lecture room.
He married a Kimberley girl, which had a cheeky cat.
And they all lived together in a cute house.*

But wasi-wabi, nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,
therefore the builders who finished our home just more than two winters ago,
had to come and fix wall-paint and floor-tiles in a jiffy,
but took three weeks and a day.
*These type of rhymes were popular in the times of William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 3

Millions of South Africans have physical disabilities, but often the biggest foe they must overcome to lead happy, fulfilling lives is the stares of the able-bodied – the social stigmatization that exacts a terrible toll on their outlook and wellbeing.

In my PhD thesis ( I  referred to Look at Me, the book in which Marlene le Roux sought to change perceptions by
showcasing the sensuality, strength and courage of 23 disabled women.

Some were born with their disability; others got it through an accident or illness later in life. Lucie Pavlovich took the photographs in Look at Me. Each model is perfectly imperfect; just like every human on earth.

Bonita Blankenberg was born in 1982 and has been visually impaired since birth. She matriculated at the Athlone School for the Blind in Cape Town and is today a qualified journalist.

 I am Bonita, a woman made in God's image, born to be different, a reflection of perserverance, an echo of the power. He gave me to claim my right to be.

I was blind, therefore I was deemed unable to experience red-hot passion or breathless ecstasy. My feminine instinct to want to feel loved, treasured and desired didn't matter.
WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 2

Wabi-sabi (侘寂) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印, sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常, mujō), the other two being suffering (苦, ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空, kū).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

"Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty."

This camel bag, that I bought a decade ago at an auction, brings about a sense of serene melancholy and a longing to know where it has been, who owned it and what was transported in it.

"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.

In art books, it is typically defined as "flawed beauty." Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude.


A collection of Raku items I made in 2004: Perfectly imperfect.

From an engineering or design point of view, wabi may be interpreted as the imperfect quality of any object, due to inevitable limitations in design and construction/manufacture especially with respect to unpredictable or changing usage conditions; then sabi could be interpreted as the aspect of imperfect reliability, or limited mortality of any object, hence the phonological and etymological connection with the Japanese word sabi, to rust. 
Wabi-sabi describes a means whereby we can learn to live life through the senses and better engage in life as it happens, rather than be caught up in unnecessary thoughts. The idea is that being surrounded by natural, changing, unique objects helps us connect to our real world and escape potentially stressful distractions.

In one sense wabi-sabi is a training whereby we learn to find the most basic, natural objects interesting, fascinating and beautiful.
 Wabi-sabi can change our perception of the world to the extent that a chip or crack in a vase makes it more interesting and gives the object greater meditative value. Similarly materials that age such as bare wood, paper and fabric become more interesting as they exhibit changes that can be observed over time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 1

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Lacquerware is a longstanding tradition in Japan; since the late 15th century

Satsuma ware tea bowl, 17th century, Edo period

As a philosophy kintsugi can been seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of
wabi-sabi or embracing of the flawed or imperfect.

Japanese æsthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.

Kintsugi as a general concept of highlighting or emphasizing imperfections, visualizing mends and seams as additive or an area to celebrate or focus on rather than as absence or missing pieces, the artist project dispatchwork by Jan Vormann can be seen as a modern take on kintsugi. Other modern artists experiment with the ancient technique as a means of analyzing the idea of loss, synthesis, and improvement through destruction and repair or rebirth.

Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" (無心, mushin) which encompasses the concepts of living-in-the-moment, non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.

Embrace imperfection. Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect

“ Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated. The existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself. ”
—Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics