The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.- Ernest Hemingway
The famous American writers quote could very easily be seen as a metaphor for the age-old Japanese art of kintsugi, in which golden or other precious metallic joinery is used to repair and in the process, transform, broken pottery. The material used is essentially lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.
The history of Kintsugi
- Break: Accept the impermanence of all things and gather the fragments of the broken object. Make the choice to give a new life to the object instead of discarding it.
- Assemble: Clean the fragments with a brush or cloth. Collect the necessary tools (spatula, palette, lacquer, brushes, gold powder, drying box, chopsticks, turpentine, sandpaper, silk cotton...). Carefully assess and assemble the puzzle of the broken object.
- Repair: Apply layers of lacquer with a very fine brush on all broken edges of the object and assemble them to make the object whole.
- Embellish: Apply gold powder with cotton or application tube onto the still sticky lacquer. Once the lacquer dries, use a soft cloth to remove excess gold powder and reveal the gold scars.
- Protect: Use a thin layer of protective lacquer to fix the gold. Let it dry for 24 hours. This last step is not always performed as it affects the colour of the gold.
In our western modern world, bound by consumerism, waste and attachment to unrealistic ideals of beauty, the concept of kintsugi has much to teach us. If you would like to know more about kintsugi at Kazari + Ziguzagu we would be more than happy to assist you. We also offer a kintsugi service to bring new life and a beautiful new layer of meaning to objects in need of repair and restoration.