Kintsugi is the 500 year old Japanese practice of recognizing beauty in broken things. Another name for it is the golden joinery. You may have heard of this before: broken things, like bowls, are mended back together and the cracks are painted with gold.
While the general Western view of broken objects is that they have lost their value, practitioners of kintsugi believe that never-ending consumerism is not a spiritually rewarding experience. The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration. The gold-filled cracks of a once broken item are a testament to its history.
My Wild Hearts Women's Circle meets quarterly in Ashland, Oregon. We also participate in a vision quest ceremony together every year. We go way back with our friendship and story council. I had the privilege and honor of making small bowls so that we could participate in the kintsugi ceremony together. We witnessed each person breaking her bowl, one by one. Then we worked together to glue the pieces back into place, some easily, others more challenging. Our bowls ended up not good as new, but better than new.
Ernest Hemingway said “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are stronger at the broken places.” Breakage and mending are honest parts of a past which should not be hidden. Our wounds and healing are a part of our history, a part of who we are. Kintsugi is another way to take our broken hearts and make them into art.
Here are photos of our beautiful bowls.