Mother Earth Living

wabi-sabi in the West





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6/29/2011
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
6/15/2011
In a wabi-sabi garden, plants are chosen because they belong in that climate, and they’re allowed to strut their stuff if they’re considerate of the plants around them. Both plants and guests are encouraged to meander and explore.
5/25/2011
A flea market basket that called to me, my grandmother's hand-embroidered linens and a quilt made by a circle of women in Minnesota are among the wabi-sabi items that I wouldn't want to be without.
5/25/2011
Learn to let go of associations with price, value, age and prestige and just appreciate beauty without judgment. Nature is the best muse for cultivating wabi-sabi.
2/16/2011
The four principles of Tea ceremony—harmony, respect, purity and tranquility—are the means to a good life.
6/15/2011
Wabi-sabi is underplayed and understated, quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s a fragmentary glimpse: the branch representing the tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, the moon obscured behind a ribbon of cloud.
5/4/2011
Mother readers weigh in on the wabi-sabi objects that give them joy and solace--from old books to heirloom quilts (and a few surprises). This community of kindred spirits embodies the art of appreciation. Enjoy!
2/23/2011
Flea market shopping takes dedication and agility--and it's a ton of fun if you're well prepared.
5/18/2011
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
3/2/2011
Together, wabi (humility) and sabi (beauty in rust) become more than the sum of their parts--a philosophy that promotes peace, serenity and respite in our homes.
7/13/2011
Wabi-sabi is wildflowers, not roses; weathered wood, not plastic laminate; native landscaping, not Kentucky bluegrass. Pictures tell a thousand words.
1/12/2011
Find out how wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that promotes attention, reverence, generosity and respect, can build the foundation of a happy home.
4/13/2011
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
3/9/2011
In Japan, wabi-sabi can be found in the small moments of beauty and acts of hospitality that pervade the culture.
7/13/2011
In the kitchen, we can cultivate our sense of aesthetics and function. Tools can be beautiful. Food can be art. Cooking can be meditation.
5/11/2011
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
3/23/2011
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
2/2/2011
As Offlining urges cyborgs to turn off their Blackberries, Neo-Luddites question technology's exponential encroachment on our lives.
4/6/2011
A quiet life filled with appreciation for simple things is the richest life possible.
6/8/2011
My old wabi-sabi home stood witness to celebration, sorrow, our children’s first words and fumbling first steps, dinners shared at the end of each day. It provided all that a home could and should, and now it's my lesson in non-attachment.
6/1/2011
Sen no Rikyu's simple, unpretentious ceremony using rustic, local tools usurped the elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremonies that were the norm in 16th-century Japan. His 'aesthetic of the people' made Tea accessible to all--and endures to this day.
6/22/2011
In ancient Japan, preparing and serving bitter green tea became a means for ordinary people to escape for a moment and share a ritual. Tea ceremony became a venue for Japan’s finest poets and artists that endures to this day.
3/30/2011
Strongly influenced by wabi-sabi's principles, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement railed against 'the swinish luxury of the rich,' ornamental excess and the poverty of people who lacked creativity.
4/27/2011
Zen Buddhism's Seven Ruling Principles are wabi-sabi's foundation. They're also excellent guiding lights for a good home and life.
1/10/2011
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
7/27/2011
Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it. With our egos out of the way, we can simply observe.
7/7/2011
A wabi-sabi home just feels right, without pretense or compromise—like our grandmothers’ Depression era homes, where things were patched and mended but scrubbed and clean, handmade or chosen and paid for with care.
6/29/2011
Salt glaze pottery, primitive colonial furnishings and pewter bring wabi-sabi into your home—while honoring our American traditions.
3/11/2011
As we watch the devastation's aftermath in Japan, the world will learn valuable lessons from a culture that reveres service to others, deep acceptance and community.
5/11/2011
A San Francisco architect brings wabi-sabi to his work through craftsmanship, employing natural materials to create a holistic environment that’s not cookie-cutter or slick, and eschewing ornamentation for what is needed and meaningful.
6/1/2011
Alabama Chanin makes sumptuous fabrics from scraps, Mona Hoffman imagines the people she's crafting each lamp for as she makes it, and potter Shiho Kanzaki believes that attitude is everything. These are a few of my favorite wabi-sabi artists.
4/20/2011
Charles and Ray Eames are modern wabi-sabi heroes who brought fresh, spare furniture, without pretense or stodginess, to the masses. Their home was a wabi-sabi masterpiece.
6/29/2011
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
7/6/2011
Wabi-sabi is sinewy, flecked browns and yellowed greens, the myriad stone and moss shades, a slate-gray cloud’s washed violet underside. Like nature, wabi-sabi paints in multidimensional swatches that are never what they appear to be.
3/16/2011
Today is not a day for selling books. It's a day for prayer and solidarity with the Japanese people.
5/18/2011
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
8/17/2011
Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
8/24/2011
Meditating has never come naturally to me, probably because of my goal-oriented approach. Wabi-sabi helped me see find peace in simple solitude (and long dog walks) instead.
8/31/2011
Space and light are your home's most desirable ornaments. Here's how to clear the clutter so they can shine through.
6/8/2011
The only one rule for wabi-style flowers? Strive for a natural look, with seasonal blooms and branches arranged as they are in the field. Let go of perfection. Your "arrangement" is a humble admission that we can't improve on nature.
2/9/2011
Your simply imperfect arsenal for getting the whole house clean--naturally.
6/1/2011
Elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremony had become the norm in 16th century Japan when Sen no Rikyu proved that simplicity is ultimately more luxurious with his rustic, minimalist Tea ceremony--which endures to this day.
4/29/2011
Interested in Kate Middleton's elegantly understated royal wedding bouquet? We've got the inside scoop.
2/15/2012
The list of benefits of owning a pet is growing longer and longer. Discover your excuse to bring home a pet today.
3/5/2009
I’m finishing up the loose ends on my desk before I head off for Southern California (where I hear it’s raining) and the amazing world of the 2009 Natural Products ExpoWest.
10/16/2008
Guest blogger Tracy Herz reflects on the beauty of Canaan Valley, West Virginia while she figures out what green products would be best to complement her green condo remodel.
10/7/2010
Erin McIntosh enjoyed a weekend exploring Western holistic medicine at the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference located at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú, New Mexico.
10/16/2008
Guest blogger Tracy Herz contemplates the pros and cons of going forward with a green remodel of her vacation condo in Canaan Valley, West Virginia.
10/16/2008
Guest blogger Tracy Herz juggles greenspeak 101 while considering what products and certifications she will use in her West Virginia condo remodel.
3/31/2010
This year I got the chance to attend the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Check out the highlights.
1/4/2012
David Salman encourages gardeners to fertilize in fall when root growth is most active and winter fertilizing imperative.
10/6/2011
West Paw Design adds two new patterns to its line of Bumper Beds, filled with a material created from reclaimed plastic soda bottles and turned into a soft, durable fill.
3/1/2012
Urban Moonshine will introduce its new certified organic Energy Tonic at Natural Products Expo West, the industry’s largest event taking place on March 8th.
3/4/2011
Shocked that nearly everything in their Dallas home was made overseas, a family starts over and furnishes their home only with items made in the USA. ABC News challenges everyone to take a pledge to purchase products made in America.
7/13/2007
Jessica Kellner's recent trip to three green conferences in San Francisco yielded some great conversations and fun lessons.
5/16/2011
Every good home needs a porch. From fireside chats to sleeping—and even hanging laundry—porches can accommodate every aspect of our lives. Here are five inspiring examples to put a fire under your porch-sitting fantasies.
6/27/2011
The Lemon Verbena Lady spends time with Jekka McVicar, the "Queen of Herbs," and shows her the sights of Pittsburgh with herb gardens, both public and private, a retail experience and a delicious lunch cooked with fresh herbs and ingredients.
4/4/2011
My favorite experience at the Natural Products Expo West was the 6th Annual FIG Media Luncheon, hosted by the Fresh Ideas Group. This year, the panelists discussed how to pave the road for a healthier future.
3/21/2011
On Thursday, March 10, our friends from the American Botanical Council hosted their annual ABCelebration. During the reception, three important people were recognized for their tremendous work in the herbal industry.
8/16/2011
The Herb Channeler gets in gear to preserve the herbal harvest for the fall and winter months. Get ideas to freeze, dry and preserve your herbs as well as bring them indoors.
2/9/2012
A reader's request leads Lemon Verbena Lady into exploring the works of William Shakespeare for some of the herbal flowers and herbs of Elizabethan England. There is so much that there had to be a second act.
3/20/2013
This year at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, three new natural products stood out from the rest in the event's annual "Best of the West." Discover a new way to soothe the skin with ozonated oil, a new dipable snack option for kids, and new product to help you fall asleep faster.
7/28/2009
Mountain Rose Herbs new line of Epicurean Organic seasoning blends are worth a try. The Herbs De Provence and the West Indies Rub are wonderful for seasoning prawns and most seafood.  


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