Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing ceramics using lacquer mixed with gold. In the Mending =Art book, there were some pages on kintsugi. But since that book was assembled, I've found many more kintsugi variations.....so I'm giving kintsugi its own post. From practical to sublime to ridiculous and back again, these artists truly use mending to create art.
When we break a dish, we throw it out. In earlier, more frugal times, people repaired ceramics with metal 'staples'. It was ugly. The Japanese invented a much better way: kintsugi.
This labor-intensive, multi-step process uses gold to elegantly repair broken china. The mended pieces are considered more valuable than the originals. Modern artists use kintsugi as a construction method....
Korean artist Yee Sookyung constructs massive ceramic sculptures that are crafted from rejected porcelain pieces made by contemporary Korean pottery master Lim Hang-Taek. She uses the kintsugi technique to build, not repair.
"Kintsugi is a traditional Japanese process in which broken crockery is repaired with the use of lacquer and gold: returning functionality and adding aesthetic value to the object. The technique can be dated back to the 15th century, its creation precipitated by the ugly repair work done to a damaged tea bowl owned by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Over the years there have been accusations that valuable ceramics were purposely broken and repaired using the kintsugi technique to add to the beauty of the original object. The act of destroying something to create something new is an idea close to our own interests. Purposely smashing something in the hope of discovering something new and beautiful is also an act endlessly carried out in countless parties across the world. In English, terms like wasted, smashed, wrecked, shattered, obliterated and trashed are often used to describe altered states of consciousness brought on by the imbibing of alcoholic beverages. The temporary destruction of the self is carried out in the hope that fun or adventures may be had that would not be possible in a sober state. The inevitable hangover that occurs after the consumption of large quantities of alcohol can sometimes result in moments of clarity or even inspiration. The ebbing of serotonin in the body’s system and general physical lethargy can create a state of reverie that brings forth thoughts and ideas that would not otherwise be created in a healthy state. The work Drunken Clarity is a celebration or commemoration to the by-products created by the pulverisation of our minds." by Claire Healy and Sean Cordeir
Koshi Kawachi restored a cracked potato chip with the traditional technique, kintsugi.
Charlotte Bailey covers broken vase sections in fabric and then uses gold thread to repair them, translating ceramic to textile.
Young fashion jewelry designer Qian Yang graduated from London College of Fashion with a breathtaking collection built around the Japanese art of 'Kintsugi', the fixing of broken pottery with laquer or gold highlighting cracks and repairs as typical events of the object's life in order to embrace the flawed and imperfect.
Yes, really - repaired pavement! (the streets are paved with gold?) And finally, we come to this: a modern china cup and saucer printed with an image of cracks and metal staple repairs.
And that's the end (for now) of our detour into mending. Now on to fossils...