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Re: [BKARTS] craft standards, poor books

Perhaps the term you are looking for is "wabi sabi", a Japanese aesthetic
that acknowledges and accepts the transience of life and values the
essence of things. I think someone mentioned the book The Unknown
Craftsman, by Soetsu Yanagi. The subtitle of the book is "A Japanese
Insight into Beauty". The author talks about an aesthetic of beauty as
truth, but I -- because I'm a Westerner, perhaps -- read it as an
aesthetic of directness. The artist is directly connected to the materials
and a clarity of intent; the viewer is directly connected through true
seeing. He talks about art collectors who "... have not got eyes to see
with. If they had, they would not be concerned with rarity, perfect
condition, or former ownership ... their collections are bound to be a
jumble of good and bad. This is the inevitable result of putting a
foot-rule between ones eyes and an object."

Rusticity that seems authentic to me grows out of the choice of natural
materials and then, crucially, an acceptance and embrace of those
materials. The craftsmanship is not any more or less an issue here than it
is in other art. Poorly made stuff is poorly made stuff, whether it's made
from bark or plastic. Except that the bark is compostable ... but I

A friend who visited Japan told me about a famous historic water garden in
which water drips constantly over a 900-year-old stone, eroding it away
little by little. The Western impulse might be to take steps to preserve
this stone for posterity, but the Japanese aesthetic that accepts
transience allows the stone to remain in the garden. I wonder if that
aesthetic is part of what drives your exploration in rusticity.


Beth Lee
Tallahasee, Florida

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