How Wabi-Sabi is different to my practice

In regards to my practice I believe the term Wabi-Sabi has many differences. My practice is within the Animation sector. Animation primarily involves the use of camera equipment, technical computer programs and analog techniques. From these techniques I believe animation itself is totally different to what Wabi-Sabi is seen to be. When comparing with modernism, wabi-Sabi is the complete opposite. For example, modernism romanticizes technology and involves people adapting to machines. This is what the process of animation entails. On the other hand, although the process is not Wabi-sabi, the content or subject matter in which I choose to animate could be. If a brief involves me making an animation that integrates using natural materials, ambiguity and contradiction this would allow me to say that the animation could be Wabi-Sabi. I believe that Animation as a practice is mostly modernism because of the process and the general way that an animation is delivered to an audience. However depending on the brief or the ideas behind a piece of animation the piece could be somewhat Wabi-Sabi. I feel that this also depends on the creator because some may be more drawn to the characteristics of Wabi-sabi which would show in their work.

Some examples of wabi-sabi within animation can be identified in the piece below. This piece romanticizes nature but has a modernist touch. The colours are generally light and bright(modernism) but the materials used within the stop motion used to animate the characters and set seem to look like natural materials or have a seasonal theme(Wabi-Sabi).

Video link: Video link (accessed 17/10/2017)

How materials and environments ‘speak’ their own languages

old set of vehicle gears

The object in the photograph appears to be some sort of gear or part of machinery. It appears to be small in size and seems to be machined from metal. I can tell that this object is mad made possibly by a CNC machine or other industrial machinery. I believe this object was made to do a specific job and play a role in a bigger part of machinery. The object appears to have been well used and has many imperfections from the natural wear and tear. It also appears to be quite rustic, which implies that it isn’t well looked after.

The question is: to what extent is the object wabi sabi?

I feel that the object in itself is the complete opposite of wabi-sabi because of its characteristics. Meaning that the object was produced to do a job, its function and utility are primary values, this is the opposite to wabi-sabi as it suggests that an objects function and utility is not so important.The object being a part of machinery, means it has geometric organisation of form (sharp, precise, definite shapes and edges). This is a characteristic of modernism. Wabi sabi on the other hand has organic organization of form (soft, vague shapes and edges). In terms of the way the object appears in the photograph, the metal looks to be rusting which means it accommodates to degradation. This is the opposite of modernism so there are some aspects of the object that can fall into the wabi-sabi category.

Overall the object falls mainly into the modernism category because its structural form and the purpose it was created, however the way the objects appears in the photograph shows imperfections and signs of wabi –sabi.

How materials and tools hide from view

From the above image you can see I have sculpted a small scale human head using polymer clay. When sculpting on a small scale such as this, intricate tools are needed to obtain the small details around the eyes, nose and mouth. These details would be very difficult to achieve without the use of tools, they play an important role in the things we make.

 In my piece I used a sculpting tool to sculpt the clay. I use my hands to control the tool in different ways to create the marks. These marks are made by the tool and not my hand; however I am controlling the tool in the same way I would use my hands or fingers to sculpt. The tool leaves traces of itself in my work however small the things I use it for. For example in the image you can see the detailed areas around the nose have marks of the tool, it leaves small imperfections from where I have scraped away the clay. This was my intentions for the piece because I like the way it creates the natural skin look. Without this tool these marks would be almost impossible to obtain.

 According to Pallasamaa “the tool is an extension and specialisation of the hand that alters the hand’s natural powers and capacities. When an axe or a stealth knife is being used, the skilled user does not think of the hand and tool as different and detached entities: the tool has grown to be a part of the hand “( Pallasamaa, 2009, p.47)

From the above quotation Pallasamaa explains how the tool and hand work together. This relates to the way I use the sculpting tool to sculpt. He suggests how the tool alters the hands natural powers and capacities, this is evident in the way I use the tool to sculpt the small details, the tool allows me to achieve more than what my hands or fingers could on their own. He also suggests how we do not think of the tool as different entities. When I think about how I sculpt using tools I do not focus on the tool itself, I sometimes forget the tool is even in use. The tool truly does feel like it is an extension of my hand. The example of an axe or sheath knife is used in the quotation; however the same thing applies to the tool of my practice.

How the world is as I expect it

Following on from last weeks task of drawing an object from feeling rather than seeing, I have become more aware of how much our memories, experiences and expectations play a big part in how we see the world. When I drew the the sweet I imagined a red wine gum sweet that I once had on a school trip when i was younger. That memory was transferred into my drawing and I drew the sweet as I imagined it to be. Therefore I used other images combined with the feel of the object to generate my drawing. This idea of a mind being behind the eye can be linked to one of the ideas in ‘The Minds Eye’ by Joseph Jastrow. In the text is states that ‘The picture mysteriously transferred to the mind’s representative,the brain, and there received and affiliated with other images.’ 

How the body hides from view (but is present in drawing)

In the first lecture the task was to choose an object from a bag with out looking and draw it based on the feel of it. Then draw the object from observation and compare them both. After comparing, the observational drawing was clearly drawn in more detail and a better representation of the object. The interesting thing about the drawings that the first one was smaller than the observational drawing. My theory of this is that when we use touch to visualise an object we take into account how big or small the object is and  then that is transferred into the drawing. on the other hand when we drawn something from observation we only use out eyes to judge how big the object is.

Defining 1 dimension

this weeks text was from Creative intuition art and poetry, J. Maritain. This text was again extremely difficult to take in and develop and understanding of it. However after breaking it down into sections it became more clear.


From what I understood the text explores surrealism as well as poetry and how they relate to one another.

‘As Brenton put it, it leaves aside “any aesthetic” as well as any “moral concern.” The aim is to express “the real function of thought.”

In this quotation it talks about how surrealist express “the real function of thought” in their artwork. Therefore surrealism is about visualising “thought.” In relation to defining 1 dimension; Surreal paintings visualise “thought” through art which could be seen as the first dimension.

An example of this within the museum was difficult to find so i found an abstract painting which did not have the form of anything and tried to relate the brush strokes in the painting to this idea of the first dimension. I found this painting used brush strokes , shape and colour to give a representation of an object which could be related to the “real function of thought”.