From “WET” to “Wabi-Sabi”: Leonard Koren’s Adventurous Aesthetic Journey
Leonard Koren may have written nearly 20 books over the past four decades, but he doesn’t consider himself a writer. “I would say I’m a creator,” he says. “I’m interested in exploring things that I’m curious about and trying to figure out what it is that makes them curious to me.” Koren’s curiosities over time have veered especially toward elements of Japanese culture, from teahouses and tea ceremonies to rock gardens and onsens, explored in books including New Fashion Japan (1984), 283 Useful Ideas from Japan (1988), and How to Take a Japanese Bath (1992). Perhaps his most widely known book is Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (1994), which introduced—cemented, even—the term wabi-sabi in the West and has become a cult classic over the nearly 30 years since its publication.