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Kintsugi is a ceramic art form that has deeply powerful philosophic origins.  Lacquer is mixed with a precious metal like gold, silver or platinum. The colored paste is then used to repair a broken ceramic bowl or statue. Rather than hide and cover up the fact that it was broken, this process beautifully highlights the accident and turns it into a part of the objects history and character. Showing up in Japan during the late 15th century, a shogun sent a favored broken tea bowl to China to be fixed. When it came back to the shogun it was held together by ugly metal staples. He was disgusted with its appearance and petitioned Japanese craftsmen to find a more visually pleasing solution. He not only found it, and the effect was so pleasing that people started to break their ceramics, just so they could ‘fix’ it.

The idea is beautiful. Taking the parts of something broken and putting it back together with precious metals and shiny lacquer. The artistic energy and intent that originally created the bowl is still honored as another artist in a different setting puts it back together. The effect the second go round, is subtle and if done right doesn’t dramatically alter the aesthetics.

Besides a great way to spend an afternoon, the metaphorical implications are just a pretty as the effect. As soon as something goes wrong in life, say a relationship ends, it can seem as though our lives shatter. Sometimes they do, but as everything is perception, does the shattered life mean it’s unusable? No in fact the way that we go through life and endure suffering is what makes a person stronger and beautiful. You can choose to let the wounds of your past become ugly scars or you can fill the cracks with love and dry it with compassion. The more care you put into assembling your life as you want it, the more beautiful the result can be.


There are kintsugi kits that you may buy that are a bit simpler than finding a safe epoxy or lacquer. Honestly though there are many videos and suggestions on what to use to fix just about any material. I saw a couple of variations in which a person used glitter and another used a sort of crimson paint that contrasted the beige of the bowl beautifully.

A couple of things to keep in mind if you choose to DIY it up. What will you be using this object for? If it wont touch foods or be heated or cooled in extremes then You will be more free in what you can use to bind the pieces.  You will want to make sure you wear a mask during the process so you don’t breathe in the dust or metal particles. Below is a video to get the ball rolling for you.

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