… could you repair this bowl for me? It was a wedding gift!
I sometimes encounter challenges and situations like this. In this particular case the task was exceptionally challenging. For a while now I have been following KINTSUGI, it is japanese art of repair and in translation it means “the golden connection”.
If your favourite plate or cup brakes, you don’t have to throw it out or glue back together so that the repair is not visible. You can try and promote the repair and make an art out of it like Japanese people do it. They repair the broken ceramics with epoxy mixed with gold, silver or platinum powder. The piece of ceramics you have repaired has become an original, only one of its kind. In most cases the final repaired look is better than before. If there is part of the broken ceramics missing it can be replaced with another piece of ceramics from a completely different plate or cup.
Kintsugi is also connected with philosophy wabi-sabi, which is looking for beauty in imperfect or flawed things. It is also connected with Japanese feeling mottainai which describes regret when something is thrown out or Japanese mushin, which is about acceptance of changes.
Cup modified in this way may not be the best choice for drinking tea, but it will certainly become a beautiful art piece to show and it definitely deserves an honorable spot on a shelf.
This bowl got to me already glued back together, but it was missing some pieces. I have filled those with epoxy as well as all the cracks and then I painted over the epoxy with golden colour. It is not entirely a japanese style,but also I’m not japanese.
Personally I see in this style of repair a deeper meaning. Life brings many scars to us. Physical scars, mental scars or relationship scars. We have the ability to recover and heal our scars. But in the end these scars make us stronger and they move us forward. Simply they define us in a big way, they define who we are now.
Yes it does hurt.
Physical scars bring pain and suffering with them, but these scars also bring the will to live to us. Mental scars force us to look at the bottom, but they also bring us the strength to look up and rise. Relationship scars can be worked on, sharp edges can be smoothed out and then the relationship can be even stronger.
My scars tell me that perfection is only illusion, imperfection is original.