Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Filling in the cracks

"Empty vessels make the most noise" was a much used
and extremely irritating remark frequently made by
old Ada Hendriks, my maternal grandmother.
What she actually meant was that "this child (me) is 
making far too much noise, will somebody please 
shut her up at once."

This one "bowls" me over.

But when you think about it, if you drop an old china
vase from a great height onto a tiled floor not only does
it shatter into zillions of pieces but it also does make
an extremely satisfying, smashing noise.  How do I know?
I tried it once and then blamed my grandmother for
my childish curiosity.

Broken hearts?  No problem.

Which brings me to the subject of today's post - what to do
with all the pieces.  Well, as luck would have it, the
Japanese have already come up with the perfect solution,
KINTSUKUROI.  A rather beautiful word and one that
could almost be hurled in anger - suck your what?

What are the odds on the cracks forming branches I wonder?

What it actually means is golden repair or joinery.  It's the
art of mending broken pottery with lacquer dusted with
gold, silver or platinum dust and the finished result is often
more beautiful than the original object.

This one was well and truly up the spout before it was mended.

There are three distinct methods to chose from.  Either
stick the bits back together again with the golden lacquer
if the damage is not too bad.  If there are actual pieces
missing then replace them with a solid gold infill and
if all else fails find a similarly shaped non-matching piece
and lacquer it in creating a patchwork effect.  But
where to find another piece, you may well ask.
Smash something else of course, let's do this repair properly.

I always knew she'd crack up under pressure.

As with most things Japanese there's also a philosophical
side to this smashing art form where breakage and repair
are looked on as part of the history of an object rather than
something to disguise.  It's an acceptance of change and
fate as aspects of human life; a compassionate sensitivity.

So next time you break something precious and try to stick
it together again just tell yourself that if you were in Japan
they would regard your now less than perfect vessel as having 
become more beautiful for having been broken.

Crackin' as the Welsh would say.


  1. I've also heard that it is easier for love to enter a broken heart, i.e. you're more vulnerable or open.

  2. This is the most amazing way of turning a disaster into a brilliant (no pun intended) work of art. Now, I have glue... but where is that gold dust??

  3. You've a talent. The heart comment is especially up to the point. Thanks for sharing these things. Acceptance of change should be really underlined, and you did it well. Thanks again.
    All the best,