The art of Kintsugi and how we can do at home

This Japanese art of love, acceptance and faith is important to implement and execute

Of the many unique antique century-old art forms that exist around the world, Japan’s traditional art of Kintsugi is the oldest and continues to hold immense value even now. Kintsugi means golden joinery, it is also known as kintsukuroi – meaning golden repair. It is basically the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.

The philosophy behind this art form being that it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Kintsugi art is largely associated with ceramic vessels used for chanoyu (Japanese tea ceremony).

However, the method Kintsugi is believed to be similar to the maki-e technique. At some point, the maki-e technique in Japan was combined with Kintsugi as a replacement for other ceramic repair techniques. Also, the philosophy of kintsugi is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which means embracing the flawed or imperfect. Kintsugi can also be related to the Japanese philosophy of ‘no mind’ (mushin), which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change, and fate as aspects of human life.

Here is how you can practice it at home
Begin by collecting the tools and things you are required. Though the traditional Kintsugi uses urushi lacquer and rice flour to bind the ceramics, we can practice with accessible materials: Clear epoxy resin or other ceramic adhesives, gold mica powder or liquid gold leaf, thin disposable paintbrush, broken ceramic or porcelain dish and scrap paper.

Now chose which Kintsugi method to use: crack method, makienaoshi method, or Joint method. Proceed to prepare the adhesive. In case you are using mica powder, mix equal parts of mica and epoxy resin on scrap paper. Prepare it right before gluing the objects together.

After you have glued the broken ceramics together, paint the broken edges with adhesive, and then push the pieces together.

Now, it is time to create gold lines across the cracks of the ceramic. In case using mica powder then just sprinkle the powder on top of the cracks when the adhesive is almost dry.

A quick tip: Glue smaller pieces together first as it will make the assembling of the ceramic easier. Then wait for the small fragments to dry for a minute or two before moving on ensuring a smooth process. Also to keep the dish clean, place masking tape around each crack before dusting it with mica powder.

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