Experiments with Kintsugi

A while ago I wrote about repairing a scarf, by making the tear in it more visible with beading and stitching, and likened it to the Japanese art of Kintsugi. (I’ve since learnt that the art of repairing fabric has its own name – Sashiko – Why wouldn’t it? The Japanese have a name for the art of everything!)

I’ve been fascinated by Kintsugi for a while now, the philosophy behind it. So I signed up for an online course on Domestika, by Clara Graziolino, to learn some basic techniques. An interesting part of the process is to consider the order in which the pieces should be glued. It hadn’t occurred to me how this can change the way they fit together. Craft is a meditative process, we slow down into a state of flow, but I find Kintsugi to be particularly reflective – the idea that something broken can be repaired, not to its former condition but transformed into something different, better, more beautiful.

I love plants and I love crockery. We break a lot of things in this house. (Ahem! I say we …) Hence chipped or cracked cups, bowls or plates will inevitably live a second life collecting drips under a houseplant somewhere.

Here is my broken rice bowl repaired with the ‘flush’ gold technique. It’s a bit clumsy, not as smooth as it should be, there’s a chunk missing where I didn’t fill it very well, the gold is more yellow than I really wanted. There is much wrong with it, if you choose to see it that way, and much room for practise and improvement … but isn’t that the point? And I still love how it looks on my plant shelf. 

(I have no idea what that bobbly little plant is, by the way. I saw it at the RHS Wisley Flower Show this year and had to have it!) 


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