The wabi-sabi way of curating accessible, everyday beauty
It could have been growing up amidst the sweeping beaches and stunning mountains of Santa Barbara that gave Julie Pointer Adams her acute sensitivity to form and design. A self-described “thinker, dreamer, and doer” Julie claims her head is always in the clouds, thinking about the next big thing to create. But once inspired, she is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty. ”You could say I dream in big picture visions, but I make those visions come to life by paying attention to all the minute details.”
After completing an MFA in Applied Craft & Design, Julie studied environment design, specifically investigating how the built environment (both permanent and transitory) shapes human interaction, feeling, and behaviour. Her work, never limited to one medium, crosses and combines different fields. Most recently, Julie wrote, photographed, and art directed Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease.
Over the years, through shifting roles and different hats, the common thread in Julie’s creative work is expressing the natural beauty inherent in everyday life. She calls her space at JPA Atelier “a creative studio for everyday beauty.”
What do you love most about what you do?
“I feel like every day I am defining and redefining what I do, and that is certainly one of my favourite things about my work. I have always enjoyed working across a number of creative fields. Working for myself allows me to do that fluidly. I love that the work that I do takes me into the homes and lives of others. However, as an introvert, I also love that much of the time I get to work by myself in quiet—on my terms.”
We love looking through your photography, what is your creative process like for visual storytelling?
“That’s so kind—thank you! I’ve been a visual person. I have always been drawn to observing and noticing the intimate details of people, places, and things. This is what I love to focus on and draw out in my imagery—the little things that perhaps others wouldn’t notice or see about a person or space. This is why so much of my photography is candid and low-key versus staged, styled, or posed. I love the frank reality of catching people and places as they are. I think this is how I best tell stories that hopefully resonate with others as well.”
What inspired you to write "Wabi-Sabi Welcome?
“As with many creative projects, there were a lot of twists and turns involved before finally landing on the finished product. However, the intent was always the same. I wanted to create something to encourage and remind readers that hospitality and having people in our homes should be simple and nourishing. It needn’t be contrived, stressful, or have anything to do with creating the perfect table setting or impressing guests with lavish homes. The overall message is about learning to see beauty in and through the perfectly imperfect, which is what wabi-sabi is all about.”
How is the "Wabi-Sabi" concept different from "Hygge"?
“The Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is about accepting all things as impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect. It is about honouring and embracing the lessons that nature teaches us every day. The Danish concept of hygge is about creating a sense of coziness that leads to well-being and good feelings--but approaching a living space with hospitality and wabi-sabi can inspire a sense of hygge for everyone.”
Wabi-Sabi Welcome is hot tea with friends and delicious, nourishing food. It is colourful teacups, mismatched silverware—and freshly laundered linen sheets infused with the spirit of love and welcome.
What do you love the most about linen bedding and why?
“I’ve always been drawn to linen-anything because of the way it moves and feels and flows, especially when hanging in an open window or outside in the breeze. I also love the way it holds colour and warms up a room—and keeps any space down to earth—with its soft, rumply wrinkles. As for linen bedding specifically, there’s nothing better than crawling into fresh linen sheets with the weight of a linen duvet pulled around you. Heaven! Plus, it’s a bonus in my book that linen bedding looks pretty even when the bed’s a mess.”
What advice do you have for people who want to create a calm vibe at home?
“I think the best advice is to surround yourself with things that feel like you and are deeply personal, rather than subscribing to trends or popular opinions about what your space should look like--and remove clutter! I am an avid collector of things I love (books, nature objects, blankets, candles, etc.) Over time, I have slowly learned to pare away and find “the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom of things,” which is a line from one of my favourite books on wabi-sabi by Leonard Koren.”
What projects are you currently occupying your time?
“The biggest is my second book, which comes out in late May—oh, and growing another baby! My new book Al Fresco: Inspired Ideas for Outdoor Living delves into living and dining outdoors. It features people from all over the world who have embraced how nature feeds and fuels us. I am also working for several lifestyle brands, taking photos, and/or conducting interviews for online journals. I just photographed my first print catalogue for a clothing brand, and I look forward to shooting the next in the coming months.”
What is one message you would give to this world?
“Be tender with others; be tender with yourself. Life is too short to be anything but genuinely kind and generous.”
Picture by: Julie Pointer Adams
Products: Sömn Home Linen Bedding in Desert Pink + Linen Bedspread in White.
Thank you, Julie, for sharing your wabi-sabi approach to aesthetics with genuine depth. We are inspired by your work and eagerly awaiting the release of your new book—Al Fresco: Inspired Ideas for Outdoor Living.
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