June 27, 2018 4 min read

Kintsugi — (noun) golden joinery; golden repair 

When something breaks, we usually throw it away. However, the ancient Japanese philosophy of kintsugi practices the art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold bonding. This 400-year-old technique also known as the 'golden repair,' involves combining lacquer with gold, silver or platinum to form new bonds.

Kintsugi embraces authenticity and imperfections, highlights rather than hides the scars and celebrates these imperfections as part of the object’s history, rather than the end story. In the practice of kintsugi, you can create a stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

The Art of Broken Pieces

Fixes and repairs can add useful life to things we love and appreciate. When highlighted, instead of hidden, they can also add character and beautiful flair. Visible repairs also make these objects uniquely ours and allow us to appreciate all the times they've served us.

A similar method can be used to fix cracks in other surfaces, like concrete planters — and the effect is dazzling! Cracks stand out as something intentional, artistic and organic rather than shied away from as simply damaged.

When something breaks, like a vase, they glue it back together with melted gold. Instead of making the cracks invisible, they make them beautiful. To celebrate the history of the object. What it’s been through. And I was just… thinking of us like that. My heart full of gold veins, instead of cracks.

— Leah Raeder

Perfection Is Overrated

More than simply a pottery technique, kintsugi is inspired by the Japanese tradition of Wabi Sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Celebrating the beauty of imperfections and living simply. Kintsugi reminds us that imperfection is both inevitable and beautiful and that to live simply is to live with beauty and grace.

A Metaphor For The Human Journey

Your deepest pain, your biggest fears—all the struggles you’ve gone through—have forever changed you. Your history is the summary of your life experiences, from which we learn and grow. It's only human to make mistakes, to suffer losses and wear our scars proudly. Acknowledge the person you have become throughout a journey filled with joy and sadness.

This practice could also serve as a reminder that sometimes, it’s okay to feel broken too.

Embracing Our "Brokenness" 

Using kintsugi as a metaphor for healing ourselves and embracing our own flaws and imperfections teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something that is even more unique, resilient and beautiful.

Those who have scars only become more powerful because of them.

We don't get through life unharmed, and it’s far less painful to display your scars than to continuously try to cover them. The Japanese art of Kintsugi is a tribute to us and it is SCREAMING that it does not matter if we are damaged! Once we have mended the pieces, we will be far more beautiful than ever before.

Celebrate The Imperfections

The philosophy behind kintsugi is to value an object's beauty, as well as its imperfections, focusing on them equally as something to celebrate, not disguise. Just because something is broken, does not mean it does not deserve our recognition and attention. It still has much to offer and so repairing broken objects with gold became a way to transform the imperfect into something beautiful once again.

This same philosophy can and should be applied to life. We all long for a good life. We want happiness, prosperity, success and we all seek perfection. Yet things are never easy or perfect. Life is full of successes and failures, although sometimes it can feel broken, damaged and imperfect.

The truth is, it is such struggles and challenges that make life worth living. That makes the good that much better. Following the philosophy of kintsugi, what becomes important is how we handle the situations that don’t go our way. We shouldn’t hide them away or prevent them from being part of who we are. Instead, we should embrace them and let them make us stronger. We should grow and allow them to transform us into something beyond our wildest dreams. Life will never be perfect. Things don’t go as planned and our time here on Earth is full of twists and turns. What we can do though, is control how we react to our struggles and challenges. Embrace the imperfections. Realize they are just as important as the rest. After all, without the bitter, the sweet isn’t as sweet.

Kintsugi is now the latest lifestyle trend promising to transform our lives. Beyond its interior decorating roots, it can be seen as a metaphor for life, celebrating imperfections and living simply. By embracing change, we honor our uniqueness and strengths, which leads us to a more positive and strength-oriented mindset.

Image via: Brit + Co

So, what will you repair today? A broken vase, plate, planter or cup is a great place to start. Whether you’re going through a stressful time or maybe you’re just a huge klutz (like me!), this practice of fixing broken things might also help heal what's broken in you.

Now go and show off those scars, cracks, and imperfections, they make you unique and they make YOU!

Here's a simple DIY video that shows how to kintsugi some pieces you've broken and want to bring back to life.


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