Kintsugi, the Art of Resilience

It's the last day of May, Mental Health Awareness month, and we wanted to cover one of our favorite ceremonies, the Kintsugi. The term, which literally means "gold joinery", is an ancient Japanese art that invites us to repair a broken object by emphasizing its scars with gold powder.

This ancient technique, discovered in the fifteenth century in Japan, invites us to repair a broken object by enhancing its scars with real gold powder, instead of trying to hide them.

The shards of the broken object are first assembled one by one, then cleaned, and glued together. The object is set to dry and then the excess glue is sanded. Then, its cracks are underlined by successive lacquer layers and, finally, sprinkled with gold, or any other metal powder (silver, bronze, brass, copper...), which, mingling intimately with the moist lacquer, gives the illusion of flowing metal. Then the gold scars are burnished.

What an elegant, creative, yet obvious solution all at the same time ! Most people who discover the art of Kintsugi for the first time have a real epiphany. Every repaired piece is unique, the “scars” become part of the design creating a unique piece of art.


But the kintsugi philosophy goes well beyond a simple artistic practice... It is in touch with the symbolic of healing and resilience. Cared for, then honored, the broken object assumes its past, and becomes paradoxically more resilient, more beautiful and more precious than before the shock.


This metaphor illuminates in a new way every step of any healing process, whether it is a physical injury, or emotional...

Breathe Kintsugi, 2018 - Billie Bond Kintsugi Sculpture


Billie Bond, brings these themes together in her sculptures...


"Breathe presents aspects of psychological trauma and healing as a physical narrative. Exploring the fragility and resilience of the human condition through the violated materiality of the portrait.


The work begins its journey in the traditional sense of realistic representation, then seeks to expand the parameters of the genre beyond a lifelike representation through a process of destruction and repair to convey a journey of grief and trauma to healing and wellbeing. Emotional encounters are imbued into material form. The illuminated resin sections represent an enlightenment through experience.


The act of making, destroying and repairing demonstrates a universal metaphorical journey.


This work sits quietly and meditatively presenting imperfections, pain and memories - the scars of life."


It's in this way that the ceremony of Kintsugi, which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise, celebrates seeing beauty in imperfection. #PerfectImperfection


Kintsugi questions the tension between destruction and repair, fragility and resilience and thoughts about what it is to be human. The fractured work seeks to consider a critical engagement with the viewer, confronting fundamental questions of the inner self.


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