I used to want my work to be clean and precise. No scratches, symmetrical, smooth, geometric(ish). Then I started foldforming and freed myself. I began to embrace elements of wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. – from Wikipedia
I began to revel in roughness, relish dirty, dark metal. I strove to design work that was balanced, but asymmetrical. This now defines my work.
What I didn’t become was sloppy. Each scratch, bump, or wonky line is there because I chose to keep it. I still file and sand my work. Planishing my formed bowls is the most important step.
Wabi-sabi isn’t about leaving things sloppy, not finishing properly, and using inexperience as an excuse for laziness. The beauty of imperfection is realizing that a human can’t reach the ideal. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be better. The journey is the important part.