Every so often, I come across a piece on social media whose visuals and words are complete unto themselves: a perfectly forged post. Like this one by artist, evolutionist and performer ciriacaerre about her decision to repair an accidentally smashed vase using kintsugi, the Japanese art of repair that celebrates the scars and breaks.

As her little video shows the process, she eloquently expresses her vision of kintsugi as a metaphor for healing ourselves…

Putting broken pieces back together with gold is built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year-old technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design. Using this as a metaphor for healing ourselves teaches us an important lesson:

Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.

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I learned every day to let go objects, cities, home, feelings, people but I have been always fascinated by the meaning of the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, part of the beautiful concept of "wabi-sabi". Kin = golden tsugi = joinery . So when I accidentally smashed this beloved sculpture, I carefully picked up all the little pieces which at first look like impossible to reassemble. Then I realized I should celebrate it giving her a new life with the eastern philosophy of Wabi Sabi living that finds beauty and serenity in the damaged and imperfect, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. I remember my grandfather who found a porcelain factory dump and he loved to collected some damage or imperfect pieces to create something special with gold. . In an age that worships new, youth, and perfection, the zen art of kintsugi retains a particular wisdom because respect what is damaged and scarred, vulnerable and imperfect – starting with ourselves and those around us. . Putting broken pieces back together with gold is built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year-old technique actually highlights the "scars" as a part of the design. Using this as a metaphor for healing ourselves teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient. Where the precious veins of gold are there to emphasise that breaks have a philosophically-rich merit all of their own. . ©️ciriaca+erre 2020 . . . . #kintsugi #ciriacaerre #ceramicartist #artprocess #japanesetradition #zenart #japanesestyle #whiteandgold #timelapsevideo #japaneseart #wabisabiart #visualstorytelling #artlovers #artblogger #contemporaryartist #modernsculpture #contemporary_art #louisebourgeois #contemporarysculpture #greatartist #art2life #contemporaryartwork #artdealers #artnow #timelapseart #femaleartist #womanartist #artforsaleonline #greatart #thisweekoninstagram

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ciriacaerre mixing gold for kintsugi

ciriacaerre‘s words reminded me of artist Victor Solomon’s kinsgugi repair of a dilapidated basketball court in south Los Angeles which he too viewed as a metaphor for healing…

Victor Solomon Kintsugi basketball cout; photo: Shafik Kadi | @shafik

…and of Yoko Ono’s “instruction” for mending object, heart, earth…

Yoko Ono “Mend Piece” at Galerie Delong

Kintsugi is something we can all quite easily practice. As a way to dive in, I’m using a repair kit by Humade.

I have many things to repair as I mull this lovely idea…

Ismoon (talk) CC BY-SA 4.0 Tea bowl. Korea, Choson (Joseon) period (1392-1910), 16th century. Stoneware with inlaid and engobe decoration – buncheong – (type hakeme mishima ), change and repair with gold lacquer ( kintsugi ). Musée Guimet. Legacy Henri Rivière, 1952, MA 1265.

Top image: Haragayato via Wikimedia Commons, under CC4.0

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One thought on “Kintsugi Repair as Metaphor

  1. Where can I get the gold for making the repairs? Does it always have to be gold?

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