Beautifully Broken Things | Kintsugi – The Art of Repairing Japanese Pottery with Gold
“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway
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Kintsugi is a Japanese method of artful pottery repair using gold to fill the cracks of a broken piece. The pieces are considered more beautiful and valuable than before because of their brokenness and careful mending. Brokenness, in one form or another, inevitably enters every life – broken dishes, broken bones, broken dreams, hearts, spirits.
Psalm 147:3 assures us that our Father heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Depending on how we learn to view our brokenness and healing, we can come to see ourselves as even more beautiful and stronger than we’d have been if our brokenness and mending had never occurred.
Kintsugi is a beautiful physical representation of this concept. In this breakout session we will enact the “breaking”, “mending” and finally the ”gilded-beautification” of our own personal piece of pottery as we contemplate the ways in which brokenness has appeared in our lives and the ways in which our Father can recreate us, working all things, even broken things, for our good and His glory.
Recommended Reading: Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole by Angie Smith
- Piece of ceramic pottery or porcelain
- Small metal file or coarse sandpaper
- Super glue (gel works best) or Gorilla Epoxy
- Exacto knife
- Gold leaf pen or paint (and thin artist’s paint brush) – found at craft stores
- Choose a piece of porcelain or ceramic pottery.
- Place inside a pillowcase and drop on the floor or hit with a hammer. The goal is to smash the pottery into several fairly large pieces without crumbling it too much.
- Figure out how the pieces fit together. It’s okay, even desirable, to have some holes or raw edges in the piece if some of the pottery breaks too small to reassemble. In order to have some areas that really show the gold leafing, I file down some of my edges to make the cracks wider in some areas. A metal file or even coarse sandpaper can be used for this. Glue the piece back together using super glue (on one edge only works best). Be patient holding the edges together until they bond – this may take more than a few minutes. Any glue that squeezes out of the cracks can be cleaned up after drying with a q-tip soaked with acetone, or scraped off with an Exacto knife so that the gold leaf has a place to settle into. I have also read that Gorilla Epoxy works well for this project,too, but it will leave a fairly large bead of glue in the cracks that will need to be cleaned up after the glue cures.
- Apply the gold leaf along the cracks and raw edges, either with a thin artist brush, if using gold leaf paint, or with a gold leaf pen. If the gold leaf extends too far outside the cracks for your liking, you can clean up with a q-tip soaked in acetone.
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