For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a seeker of beauty.
In kindergarten, I spent many recesses in overgrown fields marveling at the lines, shapes, colors, and textures of the plant world. I remember running out of the classroom and seeing how the whole field moved as one with the winds. As I pierced the edge of the field – entering the grasses that were as tall as me in late spring – I could no longer see the whole, so I dropped down on all fours to focus on what was right in front of my face. I quickly became fascinated with the details of the individual reeds that contributed to making the whole. It was at this early age that I began to understand how the whole of something is made up of smaller and smaller parts and how different perspectives can completely change one’s experience.
My strongest memories come from moments in which I have been an observer and an artist simultaneously. I deepened my appreciation for geometry, color, balance and natural proportions in third grade by creating detailed illustrations of dissected plants that I discovered in the world around me. My appreciation of beauty has been nurtured throughout my life by many forms of artistic expression. No matter what I’m doing, I seek out visual beauty in the world around me as inspiration for my work.
As an architect I draw upon my understanding of natural beauty and proportion to create balanced, luminous, and uplifting spaces.
As a hair stylist I bring a renewed sense of beauty, joy, and confidence to my clients with haircuts that enhance their natural beauty.
Like a sister city to San Francisco, Valparaiso is full of colorful public art, a strong café culture with rich political debate, and lots of dogs and cats.
I’m very much looking forward to my return visit!
Recently, I learned that wabi-sabi is not only an aesthetic, but also a philosophy born out of a Japanese world-view based on Taoism and influenced by Zen Buddhism. In Taoist cosmology, it is believed that all things that are manifest in the world come from the great void know as the Tao, and eventually everything shall return to the Tao. We are all part of an inter-connected system of life, and everything is in a perpetual state of change.
As time passes, new things come into being and old things depart. Nature dances with time and offers us the opportunity to appreciate her beauty as time changes her physical appearance. Wabi-sabi philosophy and aesthetics are derived from observations of nature and have been nurtured and refined over many centuries by Zen monks in Japan. The word “wabi” was originally used to describe the lonely lifestyle of a Monk, who had given up all worldly possessions in favor of an austere, simple, and disciplined life. Today it implies a rustic simplicity, quietness, attention to detail, and understated beauty. “Sabi” is used to convey a sense of desolation and wilderness – like reeds after a frost. It it is associated with the notion that all sentient being will eventually die. It is used today to express the physical beauty that is revealed when an object starts to show its age. These 2 words were combined in the 13th century by Zen Monks to describe an aesthetic philosophy that grew out of their humble efforts to express their love of life balanced against the backdrop of life’s impermanence. Wabi-Sabi aesthetics go beyond conventional beauty, seeking to arouse deeper emotions within us that resonate with our intuition and early childhood experiences.
In the Zen tradition, true beauty is experienced when we allow ourselves to be curious and open to change and when we approach life without judgment. Beauty is neither prescriptive nor formulaic. Wabi-sabi aesthetics have deep roots in Japanese culture and are exemplified in the art of tea where every last detail is thoughtfully considered. By attending to beauty through the art of tea, we are able to deepen our appreciation, connection, and reverence for life. Wabi-sabi is always approached with humility and sincerity. It is modest, imperfect, and unrefined. It has the imperfect qualities of nature and humanity and is the colors of autumn. It savors the moment, and accents the beauty of age in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world.
This blog post was originally published on Harmonious Home
I recently learned about the Japanese aesthetic referred to as “wabi-sabi.” For many years I’ve been trying to describe this very thing with my somewhat limited English vocabulary. When I stumbled upon the term wabi-sabi in Mother Earth News, it was as if my personal view of the world had finally found a place to settle and be understood… in Japanese culture.
The term “wabi-sabi” represents a comprehensive Japanese aesthetic centered on the notion of transience. Some qualities associated with wabi-sabi are impermanence, modesty, asymmetry, simplicity, integrity, and imperfection. The term can be applied to both living and inanimate objects, either natural or man-made. It is with this view of the world that I explore art, design, and photography.
It is truly a blessing to see the world through a lens that reveals the extraordinary in the ordinary, finds strength in weakness, and illuminates beauty in the banal. Wabi-sabi nurtures authenticity and seeks beauty in nature. When encountered, it can bring about a sense of serene melancholy or spiritual longing. It grounds us in our humanity and inspires deep appreciation for all that we are blessed with.
This blog post was originally published on Harmonious Home
From the time that I was a young girl I’ve had an eye for beauty, a desire to help others, and a passion for creative expression. Helping people live more balanced and joyful lives has brought my work into alignment with who I am.
- Blood Circulation Diagram
- Ear Illustration
- Black+White Portrait
In collage, I continued to refine my photography skills with advance coursework and started to do some freelance event photography for theatrical productions, events, and weddings. While in college, I applied my art and design background to a degree in architecture. I excelled at technical drawing, composition, modeling, and bringing the aesthetics of beauty to the functionality of space. After a year abroad to study the classics in Italy, I began to focus my study on urban spaces and the design of outdoor environments. My thesis project included an in depth study of the genius loci of Catania, Sicily, and culminated an urban renewal project focused on enhancing the pedestrian experience along a path linking the main train terminal to downtown Catania.
- Thesis Cut Away
My thesis project launched me into a career in architecture where I focused on combining beauty with form, function, and sustainability to enhance the human experience. With a passion for sustainable living, I quickly became an advocate for selecting green products and materials and spent time researching sustainable methods of construction.
- Yemegnushal Community Center, Ethiopia – World Family Organization
In 2002, I narrowed my architecture focus to work exclusively on community-based projects such as libraries and community centers where I felt I could make a profound impact on community development and social dynamics. In 2004, I became a LEED Accredited Professional, and started to focus exclusively on designing green community-based projects.
- Mayfair Community Center, San Jose
In 2009, I enrolled in the Golden Gate School of Feng Shui to learn the ancient art of feng shui, deepen my connection with nature, and refresh my senses that had become dulled by working in front of a computer for 10 years. My training in classical feng shui strengthened my design fundamentals and reinforced my core belief that we are happiest when living in harmony with our environment.
In 2010 I founded Harmonious Home to help my clients reconnect with nature, and transform their living and working environments into places of beauty, inspiration, and prosperity. I work with each client in an open, non-assuming manner to understand their goals and objective, make recommendations that work with their lifestyle, and support them through the feng shui implementation process.
My passion is to help people find creative ways to live in harmony with their environment.