Shores of Invention

As a child, Carol Petrowski was at her dad’s heels as he pointed out rare Arbutus flowers and tiny lives teeming in ponds.
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Wabi Sabi
Photography by Ed Krasinski

As a child, Carol Petrowski was at her dad’s heels as he pointed out rare Arbutus flowers and tiny lives teeming in ponds. It fostered her lifelong love of nature and an appreciation for the beauty in its details. But it wasn’t until she tripped over driftwood on the beach that she would look at it in an entirely different way.

The driftwood was weathered, lined and patinated by wind and waves, and Petrowski thought it was beautiful. She dragged it home. Soon, she was collecting more driftwood, decayed stumps, fallen tree trunks, fungi, petrified mushrooms, leaves and vines and transforming them into sculptural pieces for her yard and home.

She later learned that she was practicing Wabi-Sabi, a Japanese art form rooted in Zen Buddhism.

“Wabi-Sabi finds its beauty in imperfections and accepts the natural cycle of growth and decay,” said Petrowski, who lives in West Michigan’s Norton Shores, where she scours the beach and woodlands for discarded treasures with Terry, her husband.

Last year, Petrowski transformed her finds into a Wabi-Sabi woodland holiday display, then invited fellow members of the Tri-Cities Garden Club over to enjoy it, she shared: “They went wild.” Visit tricitiesgardenclub.org

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