I was first introduced to the art form of Kintsugi by way of Death Cab For Cutie's most recent release. In an interview Ben Gibbard explained the name came the Japanese art of mending broken pottery using lacquer resin laced with gold or silver.
I was recently reminded of this art form via a Youtube channel where they teach one how to build a table that mimics the Kintsugi style. It's pretty rad and I just may give it a shot.
Make Magazine wrote an article on Kintsugi where they, along with Japan-based artist Muneaki Shimode, describe the beauty of this art form. 'The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration. The gold-filled cracks of a once-broken item are a testament to its history. Shimode points out that “The importance in kintsugi is not the physical appearance, it is… the beauty and the importance [that] stays in the one who is looking at the dish.”'
I mean just look at this bowl, without the gold filled cracks it would be beautiful, but for some reason the delicate gold filled lines gives it so much more impact.
If there is one thing that I can appreciate about Japanese culture and art is that there is so much intention in what they do. Just watch Master Chiharu Sugai sharpen a knife. I should note that sharpening a knife is what he has mastered, something that most people automate and simplify.
Here is what I take away from this beautiful art form.
Embrace Who You Are - Just like these broken piece of pottery we are wildly flawed. Kintsugi shows us that our flaws can be, and often are, what make us beautiful. For example, when Kim was pregnant with Edmund I was trying to lose weight. I was also going to counseling and I found the more I accepted myself for who I was the easier it was to take better care of myself. While the goal was to lose weight, I think the more important thing was that I was happier with who I was.
Embrace The Struggle - Ok, maybe this is a stretch, but if you think about it the breaking and the mending of the pottery is a struggle. But if you make it through that struggle you end up with a beautiful piece of pottery. Pregnancy with Alma really put Kim through the ringer. Kim had two choices: give up, or embrace the struggle. She chose the latter, got help, and when Alma was born Kim was a new woman. She was stronger, wiser, and more beautiful inside and out. Had she not embraced the struggle she would not be the woman she is today.
Mended With Gold - I often think about what Heaven will be like. The bible speaks of it in metaphor, so I let others unpack that. I, however, like to think about about it romantically. What it will be like to walk the streets, will I be a line cook or a winemaker, what will it be like to be healed of Cancer. What if God performs Kintsugi on me? What if God was to mend the scars on my head with gold. I realize that thought is a stretch, but I do think that the healing that I do receive will be like being bathed in gold.
A Challenge - Almost forgot to include a challenge and this post seems worthy of one. Think of an imperfection that needs to be mended with gold and embrace it. Simple to say, but hard to do. But in the end it will be worth it.