Kintsugi as a Metaphor

Kintsugi as a Metaphor

Sitting with the images of the Jan. mudslides in California (referenced in my last Journal entry), metaphor and meaning are rising to the top as Spring brings color to life. New images come to mind and an overwhelming need to express and honor the power of nature in my work.

Kintsugi is the perfect metaphor here.

Kintsugi….is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. Also referred to as ‘repairing with gold’, the philosophy treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Sometimes the repair involves metal staples across the repair, adding a beautiful ladder effect.

For more on Kintsugi and this beautiful example above,  by David Pike: 

A Textile Interpretation-


#1 Materials: their textures and relationships are pivotal for me. I search my stash for things that feel right for the expression. Here a combination of rough linen pieces-some with raw edges, are my base. I rubbed metallic paints into the fabric to accentuate the torn edges….then sewed a delicate gold thread up some of the seams.

A gold leather shoelace finds its way onto the dressform and becomes the random closure…lacing through a single eyelet.

#2 The undergarment, in grey, knit with the small pinstripe, is a River Tunic .

I love how a good silhouette can transform each time we make it!!

Here is what happened: the knit had been used for another garment…and leaving the irregular fabric shapes felt like the perfect way to start. I sewed the 2 selvedge edges together with a wide seam allowance leaving the seam open in a good place for the neckhole. The original neckhole in the pattern is created by making a horizontal slit across from shoulder to shoulder…so this

was a departure!

When I dropped it onto the dressform, I could tell I was in for a new adventure and continued to create the tunic taking advantage of the irregular shapes and raw edges where they worked. I continued to use the River Tunic Pattern for the outside edges and overall silhouette. The River Tunic pattern comes in a paper or download version. Folding flat and hand-stitching with embroidery thread was the finish for this piece.

More than just a layer…my own flood experience was re-ignited by the January mudslides in Santa Barbara. 

It felt more personal…all over again. I felt changed- so shaving a path up into the back of my hairline to reflect and frame the shape of the asymmetrical collar was a more intentional way of ‘wearing’ the garment & my experience. 

This philosophy of Kintsugi speaks to the way we can bring anything in our experience forward…and allowing the transformation to be a rich layer of beauty: like aging & experience.  Diane


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You are amazing. These garments are beautiful.


this reminds me of something i read in one of sue bender’s books. a potter deliberately breaks some of his pots then glues them back together with a metallic medium to give them new life & enhanced beauty. it’s a concept that speaks to me.


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