LIFE is strongly shaped by our habits of consuming. We hastily replace what we possess and acquire the ‘newest’ & ‘hottest’ something. Many of us live in a westernised consumer society in which it seems sheer impossible to escape the endless appearing pull towards amassing MORE, more status symbols, more shoes, more material ‘stuff’.
Though many humans yearn deeply and seek a different way of existing, of living. The awareness about the state of our planet and our unsustainable habits of buying and throwing out, of replacing rather than repairing, is increasing rapidly. Humanity as a whole is in the process of realising that our insatiable hunger for more is costing us our very home, the planet we live on and that sustains us.
The zeitgeist has changed and the wind blows from a different direction. A fresh yet timeless breeze is coming from Japan, refreshing and revitalising those who value authentic imperfection over fake excellence, those who seek wholeness and contentment rather than chasing a trend that is bound to be redundant in no time.
KINTSUGI is the practice and art of repairing ‘broken’ ceramic and porcelain items. The single pieces are lovingly put together again with urushi, a putty containing real gold. Kin means golden and tsugi translates as ‘joinery’, to join once again. The origin of this tradition is believed to be in the 15th century. According to legend, the beloved Chinese tea bowl of the Japanese Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa broke. He sent it back to China to have it repaired. The result was unsatisfactory and aesthetically unacceptable for the samurai leader. He gave his beloved bowl to artisans in his own country and asked them to do a better job.
It is part of the concept of wabi-sabi and is closely related to Zen Buddhism. Wabi-sabi can be translated as the beauty of things imperfect, things impermanent and incomplete. The fainting perfection of a rusty autumn leaf dancing in the wind, the divine pattern of raindrops on a delicate flower blossom, … Fleeting moments that touch the soul and remind us that there is more to life than the things which can be acquired in shops.
KINTSUGI honours and celebrates raw and undiluted beauty. It’s a testimony of a life lived. It’s not trying to hide or to cover up the break, nor does it mask the apparent ‘imperfection’ of the repair. The intrinsic beauty of the item is complimented by joining the pieces back together again with gold. These objects have a story to tell like every human being has that is living LIFE. Every scar gracing our skin, every wound inflicted upon us, every hurt endured, speaks of wisdom gained, tells the story of death and the subsequent metamorphosis undergone.
It’s the stories that we tell ourselves (and therefore ultimately the world) that matter. Do we see ‘broken’ things as something to be tossed out and to be replaced with? As something worthless, that is worth less? Let us choose to proudly wear wrinkles and scars, let them tell the stories of tears cried, heartache endured, losses experienced and battles bravely fought. Lets too choose to use gold as glue rather than resentment and self-deprecation.
A mark on our skin is not a blemish, it is a brushstroke delivered by the artist called LIFE. Our lines – visible on the skin or invisible (to the physical eye) – give our being expression and uniqueness, they underline our personality. EVERYTHING can be special, can be beneficial to us, our processes of learning and of becoming. The divine lives in the mundane, true happiness is comprised of many small moments of gratitude. The experience of pain cannot be avoided, it is irrevocably linked to our existence, intrinsically married to being alive. To honour this means to paint with all the colours that were given to us. Let’s make it FAB and add some gold to this our picture.