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Japanese version of this blog found below.

Practice makes patience… 

There are days, and all of us I’m sure can relate, where the world can feel somewhat bleak, and the tendency to becoming grumpy or irritable comes a little more naturally to us. On those days, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of negativity and resistance. During my 20 years in Japan, I learned about the philosophy of gaman. Gaman which can be translated as “patience”, “perseverance”, or “tolerance” is a deeply ingrained Buddhist concept/idea that is innate in Japanese culture. It is a way of reframing your mindset, instead of complaining or being irritable about something that is inevitable. Gaman means simply accepting what is and is not.. giving up control and developing acceptance and equanimity. 


Perhaps the concept of gaman was one of the reasons I was so drawn to Japan. While I was learning textile design in the 80’s I began to read about Japanese traditional weaving and dyeing techniques and this piqued my interest in other arts and crafts in Japan. I wanted to learn more of the process of craft, and developing the required patience was one of my greatest challenges! So much of  creating art and craft requires patience, perseverance, and the tolerance to push through when things go wrong. When I began learning metal smithing there were various techniques that really pushed me to my limits and there still are, it is the nature of the craft. Achieving the correct flame for soldering delicate pieces of metal, firing without breaking enamel work, trying to create a certain colour, keeping my studio organized are just a few of the challenges and the list goes on. Facing difficulties and impatience is a daily test and one that each artist and craftsperson must manage in order to evolve and refine their work. 

Developing gaman or patience can help slow things down and that’s where the beauty lies, in taking time. Then, working becomes a meditative process and I am able to find quiet space within and keep going. When making my wearable art, one of my favourite things is to create simple forms. Simplicity can appear effortless but achieving balance is not always easy, if the design is off by just a millimetre it can affect the overall design. While finding simplicity, I can get lost in the process of discovering the delicate line or curve, textures and colours letting the metal guide me and the entire process brings a sense of calm. 


Gaman/patience is not an innate human quality but rather something acquired through time and practice. In our busy and modern world, the old adage “patience is a virtue” or “good things come to those who wait” are increasingly difficult. We all want and expect immediate results, satisfaction and success. When I look around the modern world, I see all the ways in which the traditional arts and crafts have much to teach us about patience and perseverance, and building the tolerance for non-immediate results. 

Each handcrafted piece in my shop is crafted with these virtues, and I would love for you to check them out. In fact, I just added some new products to my store! You can view them here. To read my past blogs, click here. 



JUN 30, 2022