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 artist and photographer I strive to share my perception of beauty, color, and composition with my audience.
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.
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.