I'm fascinated by the legend of Kintsugi, which it is believed originated in the 15th century when a powerful shogun broke a favorite bowl and sent it out for repairs. It came back with staples, and while it was functionable, he wasn't pleased with the repair. He sent it out again to a local craftsman, who added gold to laquer to connect all the broken pieces. When the shogun received it back, it was even more elegant and beautiful, with streaks of gold running through it. Kintsugi, which translates as golden joinery, shows that the value of an object is not in its beauty, but in its imperfections, and that these imperfections should be celebrated, not hidden.
It tell us we can always begin anew, despite past loss or failure. Accepting our imperfections is what sets us free from the obsession of perfectionism, which causes not only undue stress but also inhibits creativity and productivity (and as someone who wrestles with perfectionism daily, this is a helpful and strong reminder to let go).
I imagine this is how people become when broken and healed - more beautiful, stronger, and more resilient from our healed cracks. They may never leave us, but they make us who we are, and are as individual as our fingerprints.
I endeavored to create two-dimensional versions of kintsugi; these paintings are the result.
Oil and acrylic, 6” x 6” panel, 8.5” x 8.5” framed, in collector’s choice of black, gold, or natural.
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