Kintsugi: the art of un-breaking ceramics


Kintsugi: the art of un-breaking ceramics


I think we’ve all had that moment when a special cup, vase or plate has been accidentally knocked and broken and made you want to cry, or say a bunch of swear words in front of the smalls… have kids they said, it’ll be fun they said… In a desperate attempt to fix your shattered possesion, you reach for the superglue that promises to bond any material together. Forever. You struggle for at least ten minutes to get the wretched lid off and finally make your amateur attempt at sticking it back together along with several of your fingers, only to be left with annoying repair lines that look tacky at best.

Enter the art of Kintsugi (or kintsukuroi) – an ancient Japanese method for repairing broken pottery and ceramics using a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold, silver or platinum – in other words “un-breaking” ceramics. Kintsugi embraces the art of imperfection. Rather than concealing the damage, it is celebrated as a defining feature of the ‘new’ object.

There is a definite move towards embracing imperfections in interior design, homewares and accessories. Just last month, I talked about the perfectly imperfect beauty of organic shaped tableware and it seems this age-old art form of Kintsugi is no exception to this philosophy, making a noticeable mark in modern ceramics, homewares and even textiles.

I’ve recently discovered that you can order Kintsugi Repair Kits online, and I am thinking one of these would be very useful to have on standby in case of any future breakages that look as though they could be revived kintsugi-style. This ingenious little kit contains gold powder, epoxy (the sticky stuff), gloves, mixing sticks and a paintbrush. And you’ll be pleased to know that they can be shipped anywhere in the world for a freight charge of less than AED30. What?

You can read more about the fascinating art of Kintsugi here.

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Kathryn Hawkes

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  • Kisha @ Design Intervention Diary 23/01/2016 at 11:37 PM

    I have never heard of Kintsugi, but this is an interesting concept and I thought it looked quite beautiful, but what really got me about this post was the hilarious line about the “smalls” and having kids. I just had a baby 8 weeks ago (if you are interested in reading it, my latest post is an angst-filled treatise about new motherhood–no one disclosed how hard it really is!–on my blog, Design Intervention Diary). This is not intended to be a shameless plug (I promise!); your words just really resonated with me and I thought mine might strike a chord with you. Keep up the great posts!

    • Kathryn Hawkes 06/02/2016 at 4:11 PM

      Kisha, thanks so much of your comment, which I loved! I always say that no-one can fully prepare you for motherhood, you only ever know the full extent of it once you’re fully submerged. Hope things are going well? I’ll be sure to check out your blog too. Kath x

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    Hi, I’m Kathryn

    Hi, I’m Kathryn

    House of Hawkes is a boutique interior design studio based in Dubai. This website is where it all began and remains a creative platform for sharing my work, my love of design and things that inspire me. Come on over & meet the team.

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