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Kintsugi: the art of repairing

Kintsugi or kintsukuroi: it is an ancient practice that literally means repairing with gold or silver.

It is in fact the century-old art of using liquid gold or silver, or even a golden and embellished lacquer, to repair broken objects. In fact, this technique allows the glass fragments to be recomposed thanks to the metal of great value and great elegance, which will weld together the otherwise decomposed and irrecoverable shards. In this way, from something broken or imperfect it will turn into a precious object – not only and not so much from an economic point of view, but above all from an aesthetic point of view.

How many times have we accidentally dropped a glass, pitcher, teapot or bowl? Or a plate again? Of course, the first reaction is displeasure: one suddenly believes that he has done irreparable damage, and therefore finds himself with only non-recoverable waste, and to be thrown away.

In the moment of despair, there is always a silver lining to rely on and to pay attention to. We look at our pieces, scattered on the floor. Depending on the impact, these will have assumed a unique conformation.

And it is from these “cracks” that the light of the kintsugi can enter: it will be enough to weld them together not with a simple glue, but with precious material – their particular cut, given by the fall, will thus be replicated and above all enhanced by the golden “veins”. Each piece becomes unrepeatable and unique in its kind: breakage and damage are overcome, creating in their place, or thanks to them, value and exceptionality.

You should not throw away what seems broken, or what has been used: the past can always become something precious, and always give life to new stories.

In any case, it is a technique that tends to be developed by โ€œprofessionalsโ€: โ€‹โ€‹a lot of skill is needed to compose the pieces and assemble them in their original form to create new objects.

There are numerous kits, which include in particular the golden lacquer: equipped with gloves, just place it carefully on the sharp edges of the glass fragments, then wait, pressing them together two by two, almost composing a precious puzzle. Any excess of binder liquid will then be carefully cleaned, using a file or brush: which will also make the surface homogeneous and smooth.

The process will require great caution, time, patience – and awe. We will slowly see our object (glass, pitcher or bowl be it) regain its shape, and the cracks become golden and luminous veins.

This is the teaching that kintsugi leaves us, and the broader philosophy of wabi sabi: perfection, beauty and splendor can always be born from a wound.

This is the lesson that glass leaves us: from a disused material, new beauty can always be recycled.


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