When you break a bowl, you may throw it away and buy a new one. However, by using kintsugi techniques, you can repair your favourite vase.
Kintsugi is a Japanese centuries-old knowledge of repairing broken ceramic pieces using urushi lacquer and the powdered gold. It is the process of taking something that is broken and, to many, now worthless and transforming it into a work of art.
The idea behind Kintsugi also embodies wabi-sabi philosophy, an embracing of imperfection while appreciating artifact’s history and personal memories by decorating the broken lines with gold.
The unique culture dates back to the late 14th century. The repairing method of using urushi lacquer on broken vessels has been practised since the Jomon period.
Many excavated Jomon pottery were restored with lacquer, although the golden decoration that we know as kintsugi today was added long after in the Muromachi period (time) when the tea culture has flourished.
There are two main methods of kintsugi, Hon-kintsugi (genuine kintsugi) and Shin-kintsugi (new kintsugi).
Hon-kintsugi is a method with traditional materials (urushi lacquer and the powdered gold) and the vessels mend with traditional materials are safe as tableware as they are all from natural materials.
Shin-kintsugi is less complicated method with alternative materials, such as epoxy and brass powder, which you can get easily at local home centres. Both methods follow the principle of kintsugi mending process but you cannot use the vessels mend with Shin-kintsugi as tableware because the materials are not 100% safe.
Kintsugi workshop with Simply Native
We regularly hold Kintsugi workshops on artisanal vessels by Japanese craftsmen. We will announce the workshop on our Instagram, please follow us and join the next workshop!