The Wabi-Sabi style comes out of the Japanese aesthetic and idea that “nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect–and that is a good thing.”
The style limits itself to the essentials, but at the same time focuses on the imperfections, textures and details of those essentials. This design style is characterized by its use of natural elements and neutral colors and lends itself to creating a very simple, yet authentic feeling within a space.
Click the image below to get a free quick-guide to putting this style to work on your own pages, and read on for examples from the Get It Scrapped Creative Team of the Wabi-Sabi style on the scrapbook page.
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Christy Strickler says, “This layout documents our exploration through Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. The Wabi-Sabi style embodies growth and change, both of which occur in nature. The garden photos here echo the beauty and serenity found within the style. I printed one large photo and then several smaller ones, many of which show my son as a small being inside the garden. I purposefully did not close crop in on him as I wanted to show how he was small in comparison to the size of the beauty around him. I felt the photos also expressed a sense of peaceful solitude.
“I chose supplies with a natural color palette and a few simple textures (the wood grain and the fibers in the ribbon and floss). I knew I would not be embellishing heavily but that the embellishments needed to be well thought out. I also wanted to emulate the idea of torn or broken things imperfectly mended. I cut a band of patterned paper from the area underneath where I placed the photos. The paper is doublesided. I ripped pieces of the paper to isolate a few leaves and foliage which I used in simple embellishment clusters. The rest of the ripped paper was placed on top of the background to create a tone-on-tone canvas. I used haphazard stitching to add texture while binding those ripped pieces to the background.”
Audrey Tan says, “This page is about my son feeding the stray dogs every morning whenever he’s waiting for the school bus. The dogs eagerly wait for us and it’s lovely to be greeted by them. They are ever so friendly despite being strays.”
The Wabi-Sabi style is about making imperfection part of the norm. In some ways, these stray dogs represents imperfection because nobody owns them. By giving them treats whenever we see them, we try to make them feel good. They wag their tails when they see us and we feel happy seeing them greet us eagerly every morning.”
“On this page, the staples attaching the torn piece of paper represents the wabi sabi style. I incorporate it as part of the overall background page for me to tell the story.”
Lynn Grieveson says, “The Wabi-Sabi style is a good fit here because it suits the shabby look of the house, the colors in the photos,and the bare branches of the trees. The tree branches remind me of mended cracks in Japanese pottery.”
“I drew inspiration from the Wabi-Sabi muted, neutral color palette and the use of natural textures, especially wood. I digitally blended two papers together to create the background–again, because I wanted to reference the cracked and worn motif.”
Sian Fair says, “This page tells of my delight in being able to re-use thirty-two buttons from school uniform shirts as eyes for knitted owls on one of the sweaters my daughter wears now as her new student uniform.
“I thought an unfinished, slightly imperfect Wabi-Sabi style would work perfectly for a page about repurposing buttons from crisp white shirts and giving them another life on a hand knit: who knows which outfit they’ll end up on when the sweater wears out?”
“To implement the style on my page I used a lot more restraint than usual in my embellishment choices! I left tiny embellishments out on their own, when often I cluster them, which gives a nice tension to my page, and I deliberately left my sewing thread trailing. Although this style most often shows itself in neutral and naturals, I added a twist (there’s the imperfection!) by keeping the natural colors in my photo and scrapbooking with a contrast (though the patterned paper does have a knitting print!)”
Deborah Wagner says, “This pages shows my son when he came home from work and was so exhausted he fell asleep with Oakley in her dog bed.”
“One of the definitions of the Wabi-Sabi style is finding beauty within the everyday imperfections of life. After using a vintage action on the photo, I felt it fit this definition. To implement the Wabi-Sabi style in my layout, I blended the photo into a wood patterned paper, then added several layers of worn, and distressed textures, brushes, and papers. These layers gave my layout the weathered, imperfect features of the Wabi-Sabi style.”
Devra Hunt says, “To a stranger, our family is not perfect. This photo is not perfect. To us, our family is perfect just the way it is.”
“I was inspired by the embrace the imperfection concept of the Wabi-Sabi style, and I used it in a very literal way on my page to demonstrate my story. I combined a floral patterned wood grain paper with textured corrugated paper to surround the photo. Half of the page is neat and orderly, representing perfection. The other half is chaotic, with torn and distressed paper, and mismatched embellishments, the imperfect part of the page and story. Red is not necessarily representative of Wabi Sabi, but it is of the emotion of the page.”
Shanna Hystad says, “This story is about our tour of Marvel Cave in Branson, MO during a recent family vacation. Since the photos were taken inside of a cave, I knew that the browns in the photos would be a good fit for the neutral colors that I wanted to use as my background. As I read about the Wabi-Sabi style, I discovered it’s not only about finding beauty in imperfection but also celebrating it. For someone who is a perfectionist, that can be a bit of a challenge.”
“I wanted to create imperfections on my layout. You will see these with the torn paper, misaligned letters, staples, and imperfect date stamp. I outlined the torn paper with gold glitter to enhance that imperfection.”
Karen Poirier-Brode says, “My page is about a recent visit to The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta to see the dinosaur fossils and the work of excavation and preservation of specimens. The Wabi-Sabi style fits this story perfectly as dinosaur bone fossils are very fragile and often break as they are removed from the surrounding stone and must be repaired for display. Even cracked and repaired they are wonderful.”
“I used distressed, imperfect, bent and torn elements on my page and filled the distressed area of my title letters with gold to implement the style.”