A broken pot is made whole again, and within its golden repair, we see a world of meaning. Kintsugi is the art of embracing imperfection. In Western cultures, the aim of repair has been to make the broken item ‘as good as new’. Kintsugi, on the other hand, is a Japanese art that leaves an obvious repair – one that may appear fragile, but which actually makes the restored ceramic piece stronger, more beautiful, and more valuable than before. Leaving clear, bold, visible lines with the appearance of solid gold, it never hides the story of the object’s damage.
Kintsugi traces memory, bringing together the moment of destruction and the gold seams of repair through finely-honed skills and painstaking, time-consuming labour in the creation of a new pot from the old. There is a story to be told with every crack, every chip. This story inevitably leads to kintsugi’s greatest strength. an intimate metaphoric narrative of loss and recovery, breakage and restoration, tragedy and the ability to overcome it.
A kintsugi repair speaks of individuality and uniqueness, fortitude and resilience, and the beauty to be found in survival. Kintsugi leads us to a respectful and appreciative acceptance of hardship and ageing.
Author Bonnie Kemske explores kintsugi’s metaphorical power as well as explores the technical and practical aspects of the art, meeting with artists and ceramists in Japan and the US to discuss their personal connection to this intricate technique. With the inclusion of diary entries, personal stories, and in-depth exploration of its origin and symbolism, this book shows kintsugi’s metaphoric strength as well as its striking aesthetic, making it a unique and powerful art form that can touch our lives.