Mend Your Prized Porcelain with Kintsugi
2018 is the year of easy living.
By Carly Scholl | Photography by Rick Gayle
The Danish “hygge” lifestyle continues to entice homeowners with its simple, sincere point of view, while “còsagach” is the up-and-coming Gaelic alternative from Scotland that embraces coziness and warmth in design. And from the other side of the world, “wabi sabi,” an ancient philosophy that celebrates flaws, impermanence and incompletion as hallmarks of an authentic daily life, has spread beyond its Japanese birthplace to infuse the Western home with an aura that’s perfectly imperfect.
An offshoot of wabi sabi, “kintsugi,” which means golden joinery, is a traditional technique of mending broken pottery in which gold powder is mixed with an adhesive to create gilded veins along the former fractures. Original Japanese practitioners of the art saw this as a mindful way to embrace brokenness and give new value and beauty to a treasured vessel.
If you have a beloved porcelain or ceramic item—perhaps an heirloom platter or a favorite vase—that’s lying in pieces after an unfortunate accident, consider this simple method of repair that will serve as a reminder of life’s authentic, imperfect and beautiful nature.
- Broken ceramic or porcelain item*
- Two-part epoxy glue
- Fine metallic powder
- Waxed paper
- Craft sticks
- Cotton swabs
- Adhesive remover
Tape a sheet of waxed paper to your work surface. Using a damp cloth, ensure that each fragment of your item is dust- and dirt-free. Before you begin gluing the fragments, piece them together so you’re familiar with the arrangement.
Because the epoxy dries quickly, work in small batches. Scoop about a tablespoon of metallic powder onto the waxed paper and squeeze about a tablespoon of epoxy directly next to it. With a craft stick, stir together until the powder is well-mixed into the epoxy.
Apply a thin layer of the pigmented epoxy to one edge of a fragment and fit it together with its counterpart. Hold the pieces together for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the epoxy has set.
Continue to mix small batches of metallic epoxy and reassemble your item piece by piece until it is fully restored.
Once complete, use adhesive remover and cotton swabs to clean off any stray epoxy smudges or to fix uneven seams.
Leave your item to dry overnight in a position in which the epoxy is not touching any surface.