Tag Archives: simplicity

Celebrating the Incomplete

Esthete -Word of the Day

Also spelt as Aesthete

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Image: thatcreativefeeling.com

Desiring to study the Way of Tea, Sen no Rikyu went to the tea-master Takeeno Joo who set Rikyu the task of tending the garden as a test. Rikyu cleaned to perfection, but before presenting his work to Joo, he shook a cherry tree, causing some blossom to fall to the ground. A little imperfection being the perfect ground. Thus began his journey into returning the tea ceremony and everything associated to its former simplicity.

It is said that the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood the aesthetic known as wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi emerged in the 15th century as a reaction to the aesthetic of very formal and ornate and extravagant art and design of that time. Wabi-sabi is “focussed on the acceptance of impermanence or transcience.” It speaks of “a readiness to accept things as they are.” Or, finding the beauty within imperfections.

Wabi symbolises rustic beauty and quietness, simplicity and quietness. It can also refer to flaws, quirks and abnormalities that occur during production, e.g. pottery, or, as in the case of Rikyu, the blossom disrupting the otherwise perfect garden.

Sabi refers to things whose beauty can only come with age, like weathered timber, green copper, rusted tin. Sabi is said to evoke a sombre feeling very much like autumn.

Wabi-sabi is said to be honest, authentic, organic, modest, incomplete, and where nature, even nature’s corosive power, is celebrated.

Ref: britannica.com, dt.pepperdine.edu (Richard Martin).

How refreshing! I really warm to this aesthetic, and how much we need to embrace it today. Wabi-sabi simplicity could be the antidote to our materialistic, throw-away, plasticised way of living. An acceptance of life as it is. More than cloth bags and organic soap (important as these things are) we/all living things need a modern aesthetic equivalent to wabi-sabi. More imperfection and less sculptured fruit and veg. More authenticity and less keeping up with the Jones’. More incomplete, and evoking a sense of the real. Celebrating nature by engaging nature’s needs. Being organic in every way from relationships, to lifestyle, to purchasing. Accepting things as they are from people to the cosmos. Living with our flaws (shadow aware). How refreshing. I yearn for a bit of Rikyu in all of us.

 

I Love the Flaw in You

Dead center,
on the mantlepiece,
my truest work
as yet.

Soft clay now hard as nails,
its beauty is its cleft.
Its radiance not celadon,
a muddy glaze its skin.

She sits proudly among the celebrated,
offended by their pretence –
perfect, slick, and mass produced,
with images of empire now dead.

As I contemplate my minimum,
I know she goes with me.
The others to the Op-Shop,
or some other recycle path.

This ugly piece of earth,
this imperfect lustred pot,
speaks, shouts, to me of real life,
and how to cope with love.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under art, environment, history, life, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, quote

I like Your Angle

Obtuse – Word of the Day

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Photo: decophobia.com/prodimg/marcelbreuer-knoll-bauhaus-chaise-lounge-chair(1).jpg an obtuse angle if ever I saw one, and indeed, geometry was critical to Bauhaus thinking.

 

In 2019 Germany will celebrate 100 years of the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus school of design, a modernist movement,  began in Weimar in 1919, so immediately post WWl. It moved to Dessau in 1925, and in 1933 the NAZI regime forced it to close, citing that it was an enclave of communism. It lasted fourteen years in Germany, then as the NAZIs forced it to close the leaders of the movement took their ideas to other countries. Its influence has continued to the very moment, finding expression in art, design and architecture all over the world.

Bauhaus translated means  house construction, so it was The House of Construction. As a movement it completely transformed art, design and architecture. It was an attempt to reunite art and manufacturing, to reintroduce in manufacturing and construction an aesthetic, a form married to art, and quality. It was an arts and craft approach. Their belief was “Less is more.” Those who joined were known as – Master of Form.

There are three identifiable principles in Bauhaus:

  1. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said “Honesty to construction, death to decoration.” Form follows function is rule one.
  2. Typography was important: Bauhaus was instrumental in changing typography thinking – they used simple clean and lean sans serif fonts, they began to use text wrapping around objects, using text vertically and diagonally as well as horizontally. Words simply and clearly put communicate meaning.
  3. Geometry is supreme: simple geometry was the order of Bauhaus achieving a minimalist style. Hence the chair in the photo above.

Bauhaus boasted a collective whose names are now famous: Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Joseph Albers, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius (the founder), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer (whose designed the chair as shown above), Carl Fieger, Anni Albers, Johannes Itten, and Herbert Bayer. Student Eliot Noyes went on to develop the corporate identity of IBM. Some 1,250 students went through the Bauhaus School and they took its principles across the world, no small feat.

What I love about Bauhaus is its freedom of thought, it wasn’t governed by executives or shareholders, it wasn’t sponsored by governments, it initially had no commercial traction (that came later), the movers and shakers of Bauhaus were simply committed to their craft and its form. I think that’s why it became popular later on, they had integrity and they stuck with what they believed even when they were all separated by the events in Germany. Even the National Socialists couldn’t stop them.

Life, I think, is about experiencing as much as we can in the time we have, and making our contribution too. But at our core I also think that one of the keys to success is staying true to self and staying the course on what is key for us, going the distance, that’s my angle, but its not obtuse! It can be powerful to live what you believe.

Paul Klee’s painting: “Castle and Sun”

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the tree is tangled
weed and vine overrun it
but the buds will bloom

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, Philosophy/Theology, quote

Go Minimal – Simplify

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

By way of mindful living, simplicity and minimalism have become bywords of a groundswell across the world to downsize and jettison clutter and unused material things. It seems to me that we are creatures of acquisition, we have to have stuff, but in the end it becomes dissatisfying, and we feel an urge to get rid of stuff, to downsize, simplify, minimalise.

In the 1970s came the BBC TV series ‘The Good Life’ a rollicking comedy, but with a serious undertone, that captivated many, and has inspired several generations to attempt a little of what they modelled. It’s a great story about Tom and Babara Good – Tom quits what he experiences as a meaningless job, and they put their middle class life behind them to live self sufficiently. It fed into permaculture, backyard farming and whole range of styles.

In the 90s Sarah Ban Breathnach published the beginning of a series of books called simple abundance. It was part of a worldwide movement at the time to downsize and take time. It wasn’t so much about self sufficiency as simplifying life. The movement was criticised as being popular among the wealthy who could afford to buy land in rural areas and drop out part time. For some, ironically,  it proved to be expensive to live simply.

In more recent years there has been a plethora of movements and leaders in the art of simplifying life.

The Minimalist Guys (https://www.theminimalists.com/game/ )  would be well known I’m sure. Their trademark is the the 30 Day Challenge. It’s game of throwing out (well giving away, donating, selling, etc.) what you are not using. The number items you throw out corresponds to the numerical value of the days in the month. So, Day one, throw out one item, Day two, throw out two items. By the time you get to Day thirty – thirty items (some friends of mine chose make that the day to toss out old mugs and cups), so a real challenge. There are many others now advocating the simple life, and with refreshing ideas on how to do it, like Lorilee Lippincott at https://lovingsimpleliving.com or the collective at www.anunclutteredlife.com .

Another way is the Small or Tiny House movement across several nations.

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It is very slowly catching on in some shires in Australia, but some shires are resisting or refusing to engage with this. Ironically, one of the issues is the cost in scaling down products for a small home. Some are on wheels, which gets around some regulations in various shires, as these are deemed moveable and impermanent. Local government can be weird about progress (but I’ll leave that for a rant later).

For many, these movements can be about gaining perspective, order, peace, and a mindful lifestyle. To undertake any of these simplifying ways helps the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, and the sheer materiality of our lives. Simplifying is a body, mind, soul, nature experience. I can’t argue with it, I believe we’re over-sized on every level as it is. It’s very hard to let go of stuff, but let go we must for the sake of ourselves, each other, and nature too.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Filed under environment, life, mindfulness, minimalism, nature, permaculture, Spirituality