What is “kintsugi”, this traditional Japanese art that improves tearing?

Are you about to throw away that vase you just broke because you think it’s worth nothing? Think again: you have the power to turn it into gold! It is the whole principle of “Kintsugi” that is part of the upcycling movement.

This ancestral Japanese art works with porcelain, ceramics and why not even fabrics! The idea is to transform the cracks of a broken object into aesthetic curves, thanks to a special lacquer embellished with gold powder.

In Japanese, “kintsugi” means “golden knuckles”. And the concept is not new: this tradition dates back to the 16th or 17th century. She is said to have appeared at a tea ceremony where a bowl was broken. Instead of being thrown away, it was patched up with gold metal buckles! An ingenious idea that has survived.

The Kintsugi avoids throwing your items and allows you to infuse extra soul into your accessory. But much more than a simple tinkering technique, it also aims to give up the status of the smooth and flawless object, to celebrate and sublimate the cracks† The idea is to move away from the commandment of perfection, to celebrate the beauty of fragility. A philosophy that could be compared to that of “body positive”. With the difference that it applies to everyday objects!

How to learn Kintsugi?

In the West, Kintsugi’s art is on the rise. The goal, of course, isn’t to break your object voluntarily, but to know what to do with it if you accidentally drop it or (worse!) if it happens to a person who invited you!

The technique consists of picking up the broken parts of the object, putting them back together (cleaning them if necessary) and then reassembling them with natural lacquer. One of the products most often recommended for bringing porcelain and ceramic objects back to life is resin or epoxy glue.

It is advisable to wear latex gloves during the manipulation. On the internet you will find many tutorials to help you with that. There are also workshops led by professionals to learn the art of Kintsugi.

(ETX Daily Up)

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