Friday, November 18, 2016

The Ancient Art of Kintsugi with a Giveaway

With Nancy J. Farrier

Bowl repaired with staples
I have become fascinated by the art of kintsugi and thought you might be interested in learning about this way of repairing the broken so the cracks become a work of beauty. The art form traces back to 1500’s Japan.

The consensus seems to be that a Japanese shogun in the 15th century had a treasured tea bowl that broke. He wanted the bowl repaired, but the first repair was done with staples that detracted from the beauty of the bowl. He then engaged another person to fix the bowl. This time the cracks were filled with lacquer mixed with gold, which enhanced the original beauty of the bowl. Thus the art of kintsugi was born.

Photo by Haragayato
Kintsugi means, “golden joinery,” and the original lacquer used came from the sap of the urushi tree. The sap is an irritant similar to poison ivy or poison oak, so the artisan using this lacquer either often paid a price to use the sap for repairs. Most wear gloves to protect the hands. (Once the sap is processed and dried in the cracks it is no longer an irritant and the person using the pottery item is safe from harm.) Those who worked with the sap often built up an immunity to its harmful properties.
Lacquer Tree, photo by Aomorikuma


While many artisans today, who perform repairs in the kintsugi method, use a polymer fixative, there are some who adhere to the traditional method. The Japanese lacquer is preferred by many for the higher content of urushiol, the derivative of the sap of the urushi tree. Japanese lacquer has a 75% content of urusiol where the Chinese lacquer has only 15%.



Courtesy of Lakeside Pottery Studio
Courtesy of Lakeside Pottery Studio
From my research, I discovered the crack, or break, is repaired with the lacquer to make a stable bond. Then a mixture that contains gold is put over the repaired crack to make what is often viewed as an ugly crack into something beautiful. Instead of discarding a treasured item, we can enjoy the renewed usefulness. Not only that, but we can share the story with people who visit and see the repaired piece

Courtesy of Lakeside Pottery Studio



Courtesy of Lakeside Pottery Studio



Why am I so fascinated with kintsugi? So many times we are wounded, or injured in some way by life. We are taught to hide those inner injuries, or broken places, but this form of art teaches us that our past hurts are not ugly, but can become a beautiful part of who we are. Instead of hiding in shame, we can be an example to others and share healing with others who are going through a similar difficulty.








Photo by A Kintsugi Life
There are many places to purchase the supplies to do your own kintsugi repairs. You can take classes to learn this ancient art, or even watch videos online. If you have a treasured piece that you don’t want to throw away, consider learning this art, or even having an artisan do the repair for you. Some of the pictures I have contain links to shops that sell kintsugi pieces, or offer to do repairs.




Photo by A Kintsugi Life

What do you think of this art form? Have you had anything broken that you would have liked to repair in this manner? Do you have broken places in your life that could become places of beauty to help others? I would love to hear from you. This month I am giving away a kintsugi necklace to someone who leaves a comment answering one of the questions above. The winner must be in the United States and must respond on the blog by midnight today.



For today's blog, I have been in contact with two businesses who have supplied photos and encouragement. Please take a moment and drop by their websites. Patty and Morty from Lakeside Pottery Studio provided more photos than I could use. They have some lovely kintsugi pottery available here. A Kintsugi Life owner, Kenetha, was thrilled to have me share some of her kintsugi jewelry pictures. She has some wonderful pieces on her website.







Nancy J Farrier is an award winning author who lives in Southern California in the Mojave Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. Nancy and her husband have five children and two grandsons. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Karen Ball of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.


28 comments:

  1. I love your analogy. I definitely had a time of brokenness in my past that I never thought would be used for good. But years after that moment, I was able to help another young lady, who had experienced the same thing. And through helping her, I was able to mend as well. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, chappydebbie, for your comments. I loved the beauty from brokenness of the pieces. I appreciate you sharing with me.

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  2. This art form is absolutely beautiful. Of course, my mind goes to those times when I recognize my weaknesses and flaws, but God in His infinite mercy applies His strength to my flaws and enables me to become stronger. Thank you for sharing this art form, and for the generous giveaway as well.

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    1. Connie, I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. I love your comment about how God applies His strength and mercy to our flaws. Thank you for stopping by.

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  3. I love this, Nancy, and look forward to learning more! There is certainly beauty to be found in the broken, in life and in art. Thanks so much for sharing this great post and giveaway.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, Britney. Yes, there is beauty in brokenness. Thank you for commenting.

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  4. Nancy, wow. For one i hate to read. But this blog had me from," I have become fascinated". I had no idea that this was even a thing. But now i want to learn all things Kintsugi. Its beautiful.

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    1. Dustin, I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

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  5. I have seen this before and love it! If something breaks, I usually feel better about not being so careful with it. LOL
    lattebooksAThotmailDotcom

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    1. Susan, thank you for commenting. I do hate to see things break, but having this option for repair work makes it better.

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  6. I read something about this just the other day on facebook. I wonder if it was you who had posted something? It almost makes me want to break a vase just to have it repaired this way...almost.

    ashesmariea@gmail.com

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    1. I don't think I was the one you read since this is my first post on kintsugi. The temptation to break something is there. lol Thank you for commenting.

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  7. Great post, Nancy. This is a new concept for me. I went to the two website, and spent more time looking around than I should have, but the repaired pieces were marvelous. I agree with ashesmariea@gmail.com. I almost wanted to break something, too. Resisted that urge! Thanks for a delightful post.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Yes, in the name of research - for this blog, of course - I spent way more time than I should have studying those two sites. They have some lovely pieces.

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  8. Wow, what a fascinating practice and art form!! Thanks for the tip--I bought one of her pendants. Lovely!!

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    1. Thank you, Ronnie. I love this art and those pendants are beautiful. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. With the photo in the post I can now connect the appropriate name to the process. I knew they "mended with gold", but not what that was called.

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    1. I have a sodalite dolphin pendant that has cracked, and this would be an interesting way to repair it.

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    2. HeidiDruKortman(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    3. Heidi, I think your sodalite dolphin would be beautiful with this type of repair. Thank your for stopping by.

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  10. Nancy, I think Kintsugi is a beautiful art form, and what a great visual message of how wounds can be made into something beautiful! I've heard of it before in the context of repairing pottery, but I didn't know it was used for jewelry. Very pretty! I'm going to check out the jewelry website you linked too. : )

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    1. Erin, thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog.

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  11. I've seen similar art with broken dishes or colored glass made into table tops, artwork you can hang on your wall, jewelry or etc. I believe it's called Mosaic. We have an art gallery downtown that features local artists who use this medium & you can also buy their pieces, it's one of my favorite shops to go into! It reminds me that God can take the broken pieces of our lives and "glue" them back together to form something beautiful :-)

    The pictures on here are so pretty! I especially enjoy the necklaces, thanks for the chance to win a beautiful one.

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    1. teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    2. Trixi, thank you for your comments. I loved the jewelry too.

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  12. What an interesting post! Thank you for sharing, Nancy.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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