Wabi-sabi — the Japanese expression for finding beauty in imperfection — is how Eddith Buis, 73, describes her lifestyle. The items she selected as her favorite things bear that out.
Born in Clay Center, Neb., Buis taught for 24 years in the Omaha Public Schools and another 15 years at Metropolitan Community College. You’ll find her all over the Omaha arts scene, attending films, live performances and gallery openings, always with sketchbook in hand.
Her five favorites:
1. A datebook.
“I’m a neo-Luddite,” Buis said. “Did you know that? No cellphone, no iPad.” Instead, she keeps a checkbook-sized “daily minder” filled with events, names and notes to herself. “It’s my bible,” she said. “It doesn’t go far. I probably check it 40 times a day.”
2. Homemade journal.
Buis creates an annual journal, which she fills with newspaper and magazine clippings, photos, drawings and handwriting. The collage-like book helps her document the current year while serving up inspiration for years to come. “I could go through my old journals and come up with an idea like that,” she said.
If she likes a sketch, Buis takes it to her lightbox, which allows her to trace the piece onto another sheet without ruining the original. “A lot of people don’t like my drawings because they’re not perfect,” she said. “They’re between abstraction and reality.”
Whether she’s waiting for a film to start, an intermission to end or time to be killed, Buis loves to sketch the people around her. “I feel strongly that this is what I should be doing,” she said, calling her drawings a “record of Omaha.”
5. No. 2 artist brush.
In the past, Buis traced her sketches with a permanent marker, but it was too precise. Now she uses a No. 2 artist brush dipped in India ink. “With this, I like the line because you can’t control it” as much, she said. “There’s a modicum of the accidental.”
— World-Herald staff writer Casey Logan, staff photographer James R. Burnett