Kintsugi @hhenderson249

jessica gough jessicagough | December 12, 2017

Posted in Blog, Front, Keep

By Holly Henderson

One of the things that I have been beginning to notice as we’re getting into the portfolio briefs is that I have been getting a little too focused on the crafting of work and jumping to execution too soon. But what I’m realising and hopefully in time will get the hang of is it’s not about perfection it’s about the idea and communication. Feels obvious to say but seems to be something that I need to remind myself of.

It got me thinking of what Dusty had said in one of his first scamping classes — a hand-drawn scamp can often have more power in saying what you visually see and want to say then a photoshopped image. In a way, an unpolished drawing can sometimes say more about tone and what’s in your head. Maybe it has something to do with imperfections?

It reminded me of a conversation I had had a while back about the Japanese art Kintsugi, which means “joining with gold.” A method of fixing objects and artefacts using a cement mixed with gold dust, so when something breaks instead of trying to fix it and disguising its fractures, you instead highlight them and celebrate their imperfections. I love this idea, I think imperfections are largely what makes us all so individual.

Kintsugi goes back 500 years when a Japanese military commander Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke a tea bowl and sent it to China to be repaired. But when he got it back he was unhappy with how it looked and how it had been thickly glued to look like its original form. He wanted to find a new way to repair, which is how Kintsugi was born.

Taking something broken and emphasising its flaws to make something different and unique. Treating it as an important part of the object’s history, and not something that is broken and should be thrown away but instead making it more precious than it was before.

This idea of celebrating the broken pot came from the ideas of wabi-sabi which, unlike western desires for perfection and symmetry, “is an eastern philosophy of living that finds beauty in the damaged or imperfect.”

Why I love this idea is the philosophy and depth of detail there is into something as simple as a single object. Taking something like mending a pot, which we often wouldn’t even take the time to do, is transformed into a philosophical and beautiful craft.