Rumi shaping her clay

Introducing the Concept on the Other Side Of Wabi-Sabi

Tips for Grounding and Growing Thick Bones

It doesn’t take tea or Zen master to showcase a seamless flow of sophisticated movements. I’ve seen it in almost all of the craftsmen I’ve met, in the way they use their hands and bodies at work. 

These movements are refined over numerous repetitions. The timing, placing of tools, and handling of objects – when all of that flow as they are supposed to do, there is nothing to catch your attention anymore as there is no friction, no sense of resistance or hesitation. That is when I am reminded of the logic of nature. 

Jizai – at Your Will

Rumi’s hands and movements.

There is not a tiny bit of hesitation or excess. 

A sense of sureness established through thousands of repetitions.

With her, this sense of sureness extends beyond her ceramic work to every aspect of her being, her space. 

Her indigo T-shirts casually put together with white cotton pants, colour coordinated with her indigo shades of ceramic earrings

The way she places each object in the gallery.

The way she throws a wildflower in a vase. 

The way she prepares fresh lunches with local and seasonal vegetables to welcome her guests, while running the gallery and working on her own creation in between. 

Everything she does seems effortless, grounded, and wholehearted. 

Rumi and Roberto

Rumi and her partner Roberto renovated an old farmhouse and turned it into a gallery in 1993. The gallery has been open for 20 years, but the guesthouse is a recent addition next to the gallery. Rumi takes care of running the gallery and social aspects, while Roberto renovates the gallery and guesthouse, just as he did their own houses.

And I bet you’ll feel like you’ve known them for a long time as soon as you step into the gallery and guesthouse

inside the earthworks guesthouse

It consists of fun clay, slick wood, useful bamboo, gimmicky Hello Kitty to a Balmuda kettle. All of that is casually put together and coexists: all in alignment with who they are. The grounding feel of consistency seeps into your awareness. 

Earthworks Guesthouse interior

I don’t know how to put it in one English word, but honebuto, literally translated as bones thick, is the word I’m reminded of every time I visit the space. 

It is possibly the opposite connotation of ephemeral, which usually has a strong association with Japanese aesthetics and philosophy. But honebuto comes with a sense of core. And it’s grounded. Grounded in the everyday practice of being authentic to oneself. The most certain, surest way.

 For that, I cannot help but admire honebuto being, and aspire to bone thick in my own authentic way.

vase, hand-coiled earthenware, green gradation

See Rumi’s works

Profile Photo courtesy of Yasuhiko Naoi


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