Beauty in Imperfection - Wabi-Sabi
We all have items in our lives that spark precious memories and bring feelings of joy. Maybe it’s a chipped teacup inherited from your grandmother’s wedding china, or a locket with a little bite mark from a toddler now fully grown. The items are likely worn or even broken, but that doesn’t stop them from being absolutely beautiful in your eyes. They carry a personal and a physical history which makes them special despite, or maybe because of, their faults.
The Japanese have a name for this kind of imperfectly, perfect beauty – wabi-sabi. And it’s something we wholeheartedly embrace at Oh My Giddy Aunt.
Very loosely translated, ‘wabi’ means simple and ‘sabi’ means the beauty of age and wear. It’s a design aesthetic, and a life philosophy, that celebrates the beauty of things that are imperfect, impermanent or incomplete.
It’s no secret that Giddy Aunts take great pride in their sentimentality and adore the imperfect. We love cracked, worn and well-loved personal and family mementos. For us (and many of you we’d bet!), adopting this type of design aesthetic is second nature. It’s the children’s handmade Christmas ornaments, and the old faded photos you’ve saved from your first trip overseas. It’s the simple wooden serving spoon your great-Aunt brought back from a trip to Tasmania and it’s the hand-engraved words of love on a keepsake.
Hand-engraving and wabi-sabi
We might be biased, but to us there is nothing like hand engraving to bring that sense of wabi-sabi. Hand engraving creates a unique piece that will never, ever be precisely replicated and gives the owner a tiny bit of the individual character of the engraver.
Hand engraved designs are one-of-a-kind, personalised items. Of course, that might mean small imperfections occur. Maybe the belly of an ‘o’ is slightly less rounded, or perhaps the dangling of a ‘g’s loop is just a little smidge longer than usual, but they are unique and personal, and no two are alike. They also have that human element that we so love, and that is embraced by wabi-sabi.
Machine engraving, on the other hand, is very precise. Machines utilise laser technology to etch into metal from a template entered by a technician. This is a less labour intensive practice, and it gives a nearly perfectly rendered copy of the template provided. Now, we’re the first to admit this has its benefits. It’s a great way to create a bulk order (and Giddy Aunts love bulk orders) as each item will look exactly the same as the one that follows after… and the one after that… and the one after that.
Wabi-sabi represents a shift in perspective – where we start to look for the unique, the
personal, the imperfect, the human and the ordinary, and embrace the beauty in those
things. From that perspective, could there be anything more wabi-sabi than running your
fingers over etched metal and feeling the edges and curves of words carved by another
human being in the pursuit of beauty?
Giddy Aunts are proudly retro – artisans who engrave by hand wonderful, personalised keepsakes. Each item is done with supreme attention to detail but also with love for the work itself and for what is sure to become a precious family heirloom. From brooches to compasses to lockets to Christmas ornaments, these keepsakes come with your words to
your family. But if you look closely, you’ll see just a tiny bit of the Giddy Aunts in there as well.
We’d love to chat with you about the perfect words for your next family keepsake! And, of course, we’d love to engrave them for you. Just about everything on our site can have hand-engraving added, somewhere, somehow in the beautiful spirit of wabi-sabi.
27 July 2018
29 January 2020
08 February 2017