Kintsugi – Mending the Broken Plate

18th century tea bowl

Kintsugi originated in the 15th century and is the Japanese term for mending broken pottery with lacquer resin and gold powder. My friend Suschna shows how she mended hers here using a slow drying glue called “Anlegemilch” and gold leaf (post in German). Mending is more than just saving an item from the landfill, the pieces are often far more beautiful after they have been repaired. No wonder that Japanese collectors deliberately broke ceramics to have them mended in gold. Blake Gopnik explains the attraction of mended ceramics in this excellent article in the Washington Post: “it’s like a tiny moment of free jazz played during a fugue by Bach”. For more information about this amazing process see the catalog here. Instead of smashing my own few pieces of pottery, I found some paper plates I could rip and mend. I’m fascinated by the concept of embroidering disposable items although, I’m painfully aware there is neither a moment of free jazz nor Bach in sight.

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6 Responses to “Kintsugi – Mending the Broken Plate”

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  1. Bele says:

    Die Teeschale ist großartig (auch wenn ich solche Reparaturmethoden von Berufs wegen nicht gutheissen kann, aber als Zeichen der Zeit und eines kreativen Geistes natürlich gerne finde…)!
    Ich weiss nicht mehr, woher ich diesen Link habe (womoeglich von Dir oder Suschna), aber hier findet man wunderbare Reparaturen verschiedenster Art: http://andrewbaseman.com/blog/

    • kathrin says:

      Vielen Dank fuer den tollen Link. Der war bestimmt von suschna. Ich habe mich natuerlich gefragt, warum du solche Reparaturen nicht gutheissen kannst. Mmmhh. Das muss ich noch herausfinden……

      • Suschna says:

        Nein, den Link kannte ich noch nicht, toll! Bele ist glaube ich Restauratorin?
        Vielen Dank für deine weiteren Recherchen. Den vorherigen Post muss ich noch in Ruhe lesen, was du immer alles findest!

        • Bele says:

          Wie, sollte ich das tatsaechlich selber gefunden haben!?!
          Ja, genau, Restauratorin und darum bei Ausuebung der Profession natuerlich angehalten, mich demuetig dem Objekt und seiner Geschichte unterzuordnen und nicht kreativ etwas voellig Neues hinzuzufuegen. Privat finde ich -der Nachhaltigkeit verpflichtet- Reparaturen prima, und wenn sie so schoen sind wie die gezeigte, richtiggehend philosophisch. Und bedauere, mein eigenes kinderinduziertes Bollhagendesaster nicht in was Positives umgewandelt zu haben. Da haette es allerdings eine Menge Gold gebraucht!

      • Suschna says:

        Ach, und die Papierplates finde ich natürlich auch super, passend zu den embroidered napkins.

  2. isoipapu says:

    These are so beautiful! This has something to do with chance, surprise and accident that fascinates me so much.

    I just had to comment on your previous post about language, since that too has been often in my mind. I´m finnish and speak a rather complicated, rare language. Finnish language has difficult grammar, but the whole language is complitely “gender free”. There is no masculine, nor feminine at all in words. No she and he, no Freund and Freunding, nothing like it.
    I was complitely in shock when i read “winnie the pooh” in english the first time and the characters had genders! The whole idea seemed absurd.
    I´m sure language affects the way we think and see the world. it is just very difficult to explain or study, since the mothertongue is something everyone takes as “normal”. Or the world inside our heads. I would so love to read some studies about it.

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