Does language fail us? Absolutely; all the time, whether written or spoken. A reassuring hand on the shoulder conveys solidarity more powerfully than perhaps a two-minute pledge of allegiance. Just as a swoosh of a paint brush says plenty about the hours of practice working on that one swoosh.
Jeanette Wee is no slob when it comes to language - she speaks four - but even her wider-than-usual vocabulary leaves her a little dumbfounded when she attempts to articulate a certain sentiment. In some instances, even the layered Japanese words of wisdom don’t cut it; not wabi sabi, not ikigai, not shibui.
“Shibui recalls the beauty revealed by the passage of time. Inheriting in an aesthetic of calm – colours subdued and brightness muted – this word reminds us to appreciate the things that improve with age. There is a grace in maturity, and the experiences of life mark their objects with a pleasant richness. You might experience shibui in the colour of leaves in early winter, or an old teacup on a table…” (Ikigai And Other Japanese Words To Live By, Mari Fujimoto).
So, Wee turns to pottery to assist her in her expressions.
In this episode of Mackerel Moments, we explore imperfection and beauty with this erudite soul who continues to wend her way towards shibui.