You Aren’t Broken. You Are Kintsugi.

‘I’m better from afar.  I’m all scars up close.’

Do you know Kintsugi?

It’s the practice of making art and then gluing it back together with gold. 

Our scars do not mean you are broken. 

They are proof that you are healed.

Breaking is healing. 


Kidding on HBO, 2018

Kintsugi,  which translates to “golden joinery”, is the four-hundred-year-old Japanese tradition for repairing broken ceramics with a special gold lacquer. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly show the repair instead of disguising it.

 Kintsugi arose as a way to not merely fix a broken object but to transform it into something beautiful.  Use something beautiful on something damaged to create something even more beautiful than it was before, even if that object was once broken.

When something broken is repaired, it’s given a new lease of life. No longer is it broken, thanks to its new gold scars.  The Japanese art of kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide, but to display with pride.

More than merely a craft technique, kintsugi is an offshoot of the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, a belief in the beauty of imperfections.

When an object breaks, it doesn’t mean it’s the end.  The breaks are a part of the object’s essence.  

The process results in something more beautiful than the original: a completely unique work of art, each with its own story and beauty, thanks to the unique cracks formed when the object breaks—as if they were wounds that leave different marks on each of us.

The kintsugi technique is the essence of resilience. Each of us should look for a way to cope with despair and traumatic events in a positive way, learn from negative experiences, and take the best from them. These experiences make each person unique. 

If we feel broken, we need to find a way to “kintsugi” ourselves. 

“beautiful not broken” // Digital Media Collage, 2018

black and gold skull broken not beautiful quote iPhone background

Author: Becca Risa Luna

Seattle-based fashion writer and personal essayist. Likes designer handbags, glaring openness, and subtle vulgarity.

One thought

  1. When a bowl, teapot or precious vase falls and breaks into a thousand pieces, we throw them away angrily and regretfully. Yet there is an alternative, a Japanese practice that highlights and enhances the breaks thus adding value to the broken object. It’s called kintsugi (???), or kintsukuroi (???), literally golden (“kin”) and repair (“tsugi”). This traditional Japanese art uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time enhance the breaks. The technique consists in joining fragments and giving them a new, more refined aspect. Every repaired piece is unique, because of the randomness with which ceramics shatters and the irregular patterns formed that are enhanced with the use of metals.


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