Broken things don’t have to stay broken. This is not a groundbreaking philosophy I’m just revealing to you, as we all own a stick of superglue, or a thread and a needle. Broken things can be mended. However, you don’t need to hide the evidence of the fractures. This is exactly where kintsugi stands out as a repair method.

The old Japanese technique that uses gold to accentuate and show off the lines where a broken piece has been glued together is the most poetic craft I have ever encountered. And I’m not alone here, as I am yet to meet someone who learned what kintsugi was and hadn’t gotten all starry-eyed.

Living in Japan, I have the chance to learn from the best. The artisans at Teshigotoya Kuge taught me kintsugi, and I became that annoying King Midas touching everything and turning it into gold. And I mean EVERYTHING.

So, 2020 is a bit broken, won’t you agree? Maybe we can’t fix it just yet, but we can start fixing whatever we can around us and proudly show the mend.

More info:

Learning kintsugi properly and practicing on a chipped Meiji-era cup patterned with arrows and cherry blossoms

With this process, it’s not just the cup becoming more beautiful, but also stronger so it doesn’t break again easily. I guess it’s true that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even if you break at some point

The cup I was repairing is what most customers bring to Kuge Crafts – not a valuable relic, but a priceless personal piece. Just like the gold making the piece more beautiful and valuable, the fact that you’re repairing it enriches its story

Kintsugi Art: I painted an imagined fracture. I contemplated slashing the canvas with a knife to have something to fix, but somehow it felt wrong. You don’t smash cups and plates just so you can repair them. You deal with the fractures as they happen, as life happens

Kintsugi Embroidery: don’t hide the stitches

Kintsugi Jewelry: Looking for something that actually needed repairing, I dug into my jewellery box. I found a chipped and faded pendant that I would have normally tried to restore and repaint completely black. But kintsugi means acknowledging all the history of a piece, so I decided to paint the scratches with golden paint

Kintsugi Kitchen: Yes, probably unnecessary to mend food that we need to tear apart to eat anyway, but why think so pragmatically? We want food to be pretty

Kintsugi Nail Art

What you do when you run out of gold? You get silver and do GINtsugi! It’s the less famous method, but it’s also traditional and used by Japanese artisans, along with black and red lacquer