365: Day 317 – 金継ぎ (Kintsugi)

*I took this photo from a Google search on Kintsugi

I have been keeping the fragments of a broken ceramic pumpkin for over a year just stored away. It’s a pumpkin I painted, so it’s special to me. When I shattered it, I was already saddened about ruining my little work of art and couldn’t bear to toss out the fragments like any piece of trash. So I kept it, not knowing what I was going to do with it. It sat forgotten for months until I came across an article about Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending broken pottery. The fragments are joined together with a lacquer sprinkled or dusted with powdered gold and occasionally other metals such as silver. I became fascinated by this art form because it takes a defect and turns it into something beautiful. It got me thinking about how in life, we are continually pressured to make things perfect and want to hide all defects at whatever cost. We often hide the parts of our lives we see as shattered or fragmented because we feel ashamed. What if instead we metaphorically apply the art of Kintsugi? We mend those fragments and defects with powdered gold. The scars of that shattered or fragmented part of ourselves are highlighted with gold, and you end up with a unique work of art that has a history to it. It tells a story and is not ashamed.

So I took my fragments out of storage and have begun to piece them together. As I work to piece my pumpkin back together, I think about what fragments in my life I can mend together with some gold.