Kintsugi Month and the Art of Repair

by Best-Japanese Team
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Kintsugi is the traditional Japanese art of honouring an artifact’s unique history by emphasising any cracks and breaks rather than hiding them. The literal translation of Kintsugi is ‘golden repair’ from the words “kin” meaning gold, and “tsugi” meaning repair. It’s connected to the Japanese philosophy of “mottanai” which is a feeling of regret when any items go to waste and originates from the repair of damaged tea ceremony items like tea bowls and sentimental ceramics.

Fixing and renewing ceramics with precious metals is still what many associate with Kintsugi but in recent years, Kintsugi has been adopted by contemporary artists working in jewelry and the fashion world. As we all experience damage and then grow through a healing process throughout our lives, Kintsugi has become a universally loved art form that shows the beautiful journey that objects go through.

Throughout October, Pantechnicon is shining a spotlight on this ancient art by holding several workshops where you can practice making your own Kintsugi art. You’ll also be able to view works by artists in the Pantechnicon studio. In this article we’ll provide a brief introduction into some of the workshops and exhibitors you can experience.

Akasaki Vanhuyse & Soudure

Akasaki Vanhuyse Soudure
Akasaki Vanhuyse – Soudure

Japanese architect Kenta Akasaki and French designer Astrid Vanhuyse will have their new soudure metal trays on display. Soudure means ‘to weld’ in French and these trays are welded from scraps of steel sheets produced by the furniture industry. As they are handmade, each pattern has a unique character although weld patterns are usually polished away during the manufacturing process. However here, they are celebrated and become both ornamental and functional.

George Inaki Root, Milamore

Milamore Kintsugi Jewellery
Kintsugi Jewellery by Milamore

Founder of Milamore jewellery, George Inaki Root, believes the Kintsugi collection celebrates beauty in the harsh challenges of life. We can mend ourselves from what has broken us and find beauty in our flaws. You can imagine the wearer is the “broken pottery,” and by wearing the pieces, they complete the design with their unique personalisation. While the Yobitsugi workshop with George and Iku has sold out, you can still see the beautiful collection of Milamore jewellery at Pantechnicon.

Iku Nishikawa, Kintsugi Oxford

Kintsugi Workshop Pantechnicon Iku Nishikawa
Iku Nishikawa – Kintsugi Workshop & Yobitsugi plates

Trained in Kintsugi repair by Kyoto artisans, Iku regularly hosts classes from her Oxford studio, and also carries out Kintsugi repairs for private clients. In October Iku will hold a series of workshops at Pantechnicon where you can make, create, and take home your own Kintsugi ceramics. You can also see three original yobitsugi plates that she’s created that combine ceramics and stained glass on display in the Pantechnicon studio.

Kunio Nakamura, Kintsugi Pieces in Harmony

Kunio Nakamura Kintsugi Pieces Harmony
Kunio Nakamura – Kintsugi Pieces in Harmony

Nakamura has authored several books on Kintsugi after researching the subject for over two decades. His signature body of work ‘Kintsugi Pieces in Harmony’ unites plates from different countries, with the joins symbolising country borders. Although originally focusing on countries with turbulent border histories, for the display at Pantechnicon he has specially created works combing vintage Japanese ceramics with plates by Nordic and British makers, including Wedgewood and Royal Copenhagen.

Tomomi Kamoshita, Ceramist & Artist

Yobitsugi Tomomi Kamoshita
Examples of Yobitsugi – Tomomi Kamoshita

Using a technique called yobitsugi (which means ‘calling together’), Kamoshita renews damaged ceramics by introducing objects foreign to the original piece, resulting in a patchwork-like finish. She uses old pieces of her own pottery and combines them with fragments of broken ceramics and sea glass washed up on beach. The resulting plates she has created along with her chopstick and cutlery rests will be on display at Pantechnicon during October.

To find the complete information on the Kintsugi month at Pantechnicon head over to their website where you can also book the experiences listed above. Also if you’re looking for more Japanese Cultural Events in the UK, please feel free to check out our Japanese Events in October.

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