Kintsugi “golden joinery” is the traditional Japanese art of repairing broken pottery traditionally with a mix of gold powder and Japanese lacquer called urushi to seal it back together. The method dates back to the 15th century.
Tomomi Kamoshita, our artist based in Tokyo, shares the art in a modern version of Kintsugi technique. She teaches the version of kintsugi that utilizes resin based urushi and brass powder instead of natural resin and gold powder, which can sometimes cause allergic reactions.
Tomomi also brings to the workshop her own style of inventing objects from broken ceramic pieces in an artful mosaic rather than repairing broken pots. This process is called Yobitsugi, one of the most artistic Kintsugi techniques. “Yobi” means to call and “tsugi” means to connect. Rather than only using pieces from the original ceramic object, Yobitsugi incorporates “foreign” pieces from other objects to mend the broken ceramic item.
We created and collaborated a program “Lecture on Art, Creativity, and Perception” with the Yobitsugi (Kintsugi) workshop with Tomomi first and a discussion with Elaine Yuen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. After each participant worked on a Yobitsugi piece, we spoke on art, perception, and creativity. By noticing our direct sense perceptions such as touch and sight, we explore our choices in recreating a whole piece from brokenness. There also was opportunity to reflect on and appreciate the meanings of this recreation.