Sunday, 15 February 2015


Kintsugi (金継ぎ) - golden joinery

The Japanese art of Kintsuge dates back to the 15th century. According to one of the legends, a Shogun sent his favourite tea bowl to China for repair and was saddened when it returned to him stapled, metal bars bridging the crack. The damage was highlighted, the piece was ruined. He challenged his craftsmen to develop a technique for repairing the broken earthenware while ensuring it was still beautiful. 
The 15th century saw the development of the Higashiyama period of Japanese culture, which drew heavily on Zen buddhism, and the philosophy of wabi-sabi, which focuses on accepting transience and imperfection. Kintsugi draws on these philosophies - embracing the flaws in an object and making them beautiful.
Last week I went for a drink with some friends. Friday night, after work - nothing special. Except, it was. Several glasses of wine in, one friend bluntly stated that we probably wouldn't have got to know each other in the same way had I not had a rough time over the last six months. Another agreed. I don't think they're wrong. I've been thinking a lot recently about Brené Brown's wonderful TED Talk about vulnerability, and how human nature dictates that when we are at our lowest - the bottom of the downwards slide - hiding from the world is tempting, but being frank and open is what we need to push ourselves to be. The people that pick us up and put us back on our feet are the ones that look past the cracks and see the potential for gilding. Without those crevices, we wouldn't see the opportunities or the chances for growth and good things to emerge. 
And so, at the end of a weekend that has seen Galentines, Valentine's, and a slightly painful anniversary, I am grateful. I am thankful for the friends and family who have boosted my confidence, who have shared their experiences and wisdom, who have talked about their own vulnerabilities, and who have made me laugh. When you're going through hell, all you can do is keep going. But knowing people are there to pull you through makes it an awful lot easier.

Ceramics by Paul Scott. Images from his Flikr account. 

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