Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery
Kintsugi is the design trend that the internet is obsessed with, and here's where you can learn how to do it yourself
In the most basic terms, Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery, but this Japanese practice is so much more than your run-of-the-mill repair job. It has its roots in the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, a world view coloured by an acceptance of impermanence. Kintsugi is, in turn, a mindfulness exercise with encourages you to accept the imperfections around you, as well as in yourself.
Literally translating as ‘golden repairs’, seemingly worthless fragments are glued together through lacquer and brushed with powdered gold to create a map of resplendent cracks, giving a new lease of life to broken ceramics.
The art form has captured the imaginations of a number of contemporary artists, such as Korean sculptor Yeesookyung, who exhibited her misshapen sculptures at Frieze London in 2018. These were made from the defected products of traditional ceramic workshops which had been broken to keep the value of other works intact. By incorporating these jettisoned materials into her work, Yeesookyung challenges conventional hierarchies about beauty and value.
(Left) Yeesookyung, Translated Vase_2012 TVG 1 (Right) Yeesookyung, Translated Vase_2009 TVW 5
Make your own
Fill your home with these philosophically-rich objects by looking out for one of the many Kintsugi workshops which have been popping up across London. Dotty by Design is running classes from 20 November 19 to 1 April 20 in Kensal Rise. Bring your own broken porcelain items or choose from their selection and be taken through the repair process by a resident Indytute expert. Classes are £28 pounds and can be purchased here.
The Design Museum also sells their own Kintsugi Repair Kits and are the perfect gifts for crafty (or clumsy) friends this Christmas. They've also supplied a nifty video showing how the process works.
If you're not one for hands-on craft sessions but simply love the look of these revitalised ceramics, then browse the Kintsugi collection that Italian designer Marcantonio has designed for stylish homewares brand, Seletti, which uses brilliant 24-carat gold.
However, as we hurtle towards the new year, this could be the perfect restorative hobby to take on in 2020. One thing's for sure, an artistic afterlife has never looked so beautiful.