Thursday, 12 January 2017

Wabi Sabi Scrapbooking


Mmm...make a page that's perfectly imperfect: what do you think?

Sian F Woot!

When Get It Scrapped asked me for a layout designed around the principles of Wabi-Sabi I had to do a little research (as it turns out my dear friend Alexa had explained it perfectly on this post from a couple of years back). It's the Japanese notion of impermanence and imperfection; that nothing lasts forever, nothing can be finished, that simple is good, authentic is best.

So what that means is that I've been enjoying Wabi-Sabi style scrapbooking all along. That's what I like. I'll very often leave a sewing thread dangling on purpose, or draw a wobbly line, or cut freestyle with my scissors instead of a trimmer, because I know that if I do these things, I'll leave a little of my "hand" on the page. You will know, in other words, that I've been there. (And if you've been hanging round here long you'll now be expecting me to quote my scrapbooking dream: that someone will find an album of mine years from now and feel something of me on each page. I want that album finder to be able to say look: her handwriting is much neater on this page, what made her concentrate that day?

Ah, you could say: the idea of an album sitting for years on a shelf isn't very Wabi-Sabi. Maybe that's right. But maybe I have an answer. 

I don't mind altering my layouts. They don't go onto a shelf and stay there, untouched. I make a page, I photograph it and share it. But that doesn't mean that it's finished. I might add an extra embellishment (because sometimes it's only when I see the photo that I realise what's missing. That's a good tip. If you are struggling to get a page to come together, take a photo and pin it up, then step back and look at it with the critical eye that comes from being one step removed). I might take away a piece (and if that leaves a little hole that needs patched, I'm fine with that). Chances are I'll add more writing, which might even cover the page and detract from the original design. But that's no problem. The words count. Is that Wabi-Sabi?

For this particular page I was pleased to find the perfect subject. A hand knitted jumper, in a natural colour, in pure new wool: that's authentic, that's imperfect (somewhere, I'm sure, if you look closely). It has recycled buttons; and when it has been worn enough here, it will probably be recycled in its whole, or moved on, or re-knitted. Nothing lasts forever. 


And that can be a strangely comforting thought.

More ideas on scrapbooking Wabi-Style can be found here at Get It Scrapped.

16 comments:

alexa said...

I am, as you know, a lover of wabi-sabi (and thank-you for the mention). Your page encapsulates it so nicely, and I've really enjoyed your illumination of it too. Love those loose ends! When I was working with old manuscripts, my heart used to leap when I came across the doodle of a face with a bulbous nose in the margin, or what looked like part of a recipe on the back of a transfer of land document. I loved that the sense of idiosyncratic connection with another person. I am sure that your descendants will indeed feel something of you on EVERY page :).

Ruth said...

Everything Alexa said and more, really ...
I often leave a page for a day or ten if it doesn't feel quite right ... I'm having the same dilemma with a Lego set right now ...

Patio Postcards said...

I think your telling about the page's creation has so much emotion that it should be a little added card to the page, maybe hidden journaling. I like what you hope your pages say to future generations.

Jane said...

that sounds like my kind of scrapbooking, now I know what to call it!

Jennifer Shaw said...

I love this style of scrapbooking. Sadly I continue to measure exact lines with my quilting ruler as I stick paper down. It's a control and order issue. ;) This page is amazing as is the photo of your daughter, not to mention that beautiful sweater. Would you consider doing a post on how you store your albums? I'm often curious as you make many pages throughout the year. I still struggle with the amount of albums that are needing homes these days and I don't see my scrapping stopping.

debs14 said...

Lovely page, lovely daughter, lovely sweater - totally lovely!

Sandra said...

I also like the idea that simple is good ... yes, I think I could get behind this saying xx

Mitra Pratt said...

oh what an interesting concept! I am in envy of that sweater! I totally enjoyed your post and your page all the while thinking....wow, that sweater....

Karen said...

Wabi-sabi is a new term to me, and every time I see in henceforth, I will think of your excellent explanation and wonderful illustration of it. I think Mary-Lou is right, you should print out the blog post and paste it on the back of the layout (at the very least!)

Susanne said...

The longer I scrap the more I like the imperfection of it. And yes, the camera can point out design flaws, but not all of them need fixing, now do they.

Susan said...

Very interesting post - I'd never heard of wabi-sabi before. I have to say though that I really like the concept. I try not to waste time agonizing over placement and little details. Simple and authentic is always good.

Lady Ella said...

The jumper is amazing and I love your wabi-sabiness. But what I actually came to say was: sorry for taking your name in vain over on Random Reflections. Brain freeze!

Melissa said...

What a lovely layout - I do like how you always have a little something of "you" on each page. I think all my pages have imperfections, but they tell our story . . . and that's what's important, right!

Sandie said...

What a lovely post Sian. I love the term wabi-sabi and like you I have been practicing the part of imperfection. I loved how you described wanting to leave a little bit of your hand on each page, that is so evocative. I am trying to adopt the same attitude in other areas of my life too, it is helping me to declutter and pass on books that I know others can enjoy and read.

Jo said...

I think I must be a Wabi-Sabi scrapper now because I don't mind when things don't go quite right, I hated it when I first started out though! Great page :)

Lizzy Hill said...

What a wonderful notion....sounds like it's just perfect for you to explore more deeply. I'd like to say I go with the notion. But in my case it would just be justification for laziness. Which is why my pages are never perfect cos I can't be bothered tying off that thread or lining up those alphas or writing my journaling out BEFORE it's written on the page, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

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