Irregularities and the apparent imperfection characterize Japanese ceramics and thus clearly distinguish them from the otherwise so widespread endeavor to produce pieces that are as perfect as possible with smooth, flawless surfaces and even edges.
These irregularities are what give the ceramics their character in the first place - which is shaped by the signs of use over the years - for example, by the discoloration that occurs in the fine cracks in the glaze or in the porous clay when the tea seeps into it.
The blemish is not "hidden" but highlighted as part of the piece's history, adding to its character and beauty.Kintsugi is traditionally created in an often lengthy process of the gradual application and polishing of an urushi lacquer dusted with gold or silver pigments.
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
In the pictures of the sake decanter (right), you can see some dark broken lines that still need to be re-polished and finished, as well as some finished gold broken lines.
The technique can be used to join pieces from 2 or more shards together (the vase pictured has 91 broken pieces!). Missing pieces can be completely replaced with the gold urushi putty, or matching sherds are inserted which often contrast intentionally with the original pottery by using different colors or materials such as glass.
Meanwhile, a simpler method of kintsugi repair is often performed, mixing ceramic glue with gold powder and sprinkling additional gold powder on the broken edge after the pieces have been joined while drying. This method also produces beautiful results, but doesn't quite achieve the finesse of the intricate artwork created by "real" Kintsugi repairs.
Your favorite piece has been broken and you would like to revive it through Kintsugi repair?
We are happy to let your ceramics shine in new splendor. For the repair with the traditional Kintsugi method we charge 12€ per cm of breakage, for the simple Kintsugi it's 6€ per cm of breakage (plus shipping). Please contact us for details!
Some examples of Kintsugi repairs by our production manager Sascha Conrad can be found in the picture gallery accompanying the blog post! The sake carafe is repaired with "real" Kintsugi, the other two pieces with "plain" Kintsugi.
Please bear in mind that the repair may take several weeks, as a few days of drying time are always necessary between the work steps. The more pieces, the more laborious and lengthy the process.