Kintsugi: the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramic and glassware

There are courses in most major cities where you can learn this century-old technique

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One of the most interesting examples of recycling decorative objects is Kintsugi;  a Japanese technique that consists of repairing broken pieces of ceramic or glass with a special varnish, and then embellishing the ‘vein’ with gold dust. It is not a about hiding object’s broken state, like when the different fragments of a piece are put back together with glue, but of creating something more beautiful from the cracks and imperfections.

Iku Nishikawa, who based in the UK, organizes introductory workshops in Oxford and London and, sometimes in other European cities. But beyond the pleasure of recovering, and even embellishing, broken pieces of pottery, the most interesting thing about Kintsugi is the philosophy behind it. As Iku Nishikawa himself says on his website, when we try to repair a piece carefully “there is a reference to the now that recalls mushin, a lack of attachment to anything, but rather being present in the moment, something constantly available to all, but particularly when we drop a piece of china.”

Kintsugi workshops in the UK