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Kintsugi Repair Questions and Answers

Lakeside Pottery Kintsugi Gallery Intragram

Lakeside Pottery is a ceramic studio, 3-D art restoration and Kintsugi studio. We are often asked for advice and archived some of the common questions and answers about Kintsugi below.

How is Kintsugi made in our Studio?

1) What is the translation of Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi

What is the translation of Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi

The translation ok Kintsugi is "golden joinery" and the translation of Kintsukuroi is "golden repair".

2) How is Kintsugi done?
How do you fix broken gold with ceramics?
How do you make Kintsugi pottery?
What is the Japanese art broken pottery gold repair?

How is Kintsugi done?  How do you fix broken gold with ceramics? How do you make Kintsugi pottery?

The Lakeside Pottery website contains instructional and tutorial videos and illustration pages demonstrating how we implement the Kintsugi process. Please visit these instructional pages: How is Kintsugi made

3) What does Kintsugi mean?

What does Kintsugi mean?

Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi is translated from the Japanese to mean golden joinery. It refers to the ancient art of ceramic repair with gold using a gold powder that is applied on lacquer. Kintsugi art has become a metaphor for rebirth, healing and the Wabi-sabi philosophy of the beauty of imperfection. Broken pottery is transformed into beautiful art as the breaks are enhanced with gold creating unique and pleasing patterned surfaces.

4) What is the History of Kintsugi?

What is the History of Kintsugi?

The origin of Kintsugi dates back to 15th century Japan. A favored tea bowl of the Shogun broke and it was sent to China for repair. The Shogun was displeased with the unappealing look of the repair. Ceramics were customarily mended with metal staples that were heavy, dark and unattractive. He appointed his Japanese craftsmen to discover an aesthetically pleasing solution and the gold repair, Kintsugi, was born.

5) Why do Japanese repair broken objects with gold?

Is that acceptable to break pottery on purpose to create Kintsug

The philosophy of Kintsugi honors life experiences whether good or bad. By highlighting the repair of cracks or breaks in a ceramic piece, the events of the past become part of its beauty. There is no attempt to conceal the damage, the repair literally illuminates each scar. The inference for humans is that the scars we gather over time, the breaks, knocks and wrinkles are part of us, they should not be hidden because they make us a more beautiful whole.

6) What does Kintsugi pottery used for?
How the Japanese art of Kintsugi can help one?
What does Kintsugi can teach us about feeling flawed?

Gazing at a Kintsugi art work, we are reflecting on its metaphor -- there is beauty in imperfection, scars are experiences of life, breaks can heal and aging is a natural and beautiful process of life. A Kintsugi life suggests that, like a ceramic piece, there is value to missing pieces, cracks and chips and one may find a new purpose, rebirth and trust by not concealing the imperfections and flaws that have come from living but by giving them respect and even gratitude.

7) Is Kintsugi an art or a metaphor

Kintsugi is art and a metaphor for most, just art to some and just a metaphor to others. We have made thousands of Kintsugi items and in many of the cases we listen to the story behind the need to purchase Kintsugi vessel. The stories are so diverse and cover customers who seek to symbolize resilience and transformation embracing different aspects of human experience ranging from trauma and illness to social movements and personal struggles or just aesthetics. Other customers just like the aesthetics.

We do not look at the Kintsugi art as one or the other in its totality. The range of those who benefit from the art and the metaphor is so wide from the spouse of a soldier with PTSD, to the priest who sees god in the metaphor or a head of state who sees the metaphor as a tool for improving countries' relationships. Each person benefits from it the way they feel they need, "Art is Life and life is art". Kintsugi embodies this philosophy, serving as a reminder of the beauty that emerges from life's challenges and imperfections while celebrating the beauty of the newly emerged vessel.

What does Kintsugi pottery used for? How the Japanese art of Kintsugi can help one? What Japanese Pottery Can Teach Us About Feeling Flawed?
8) Can Kintsugi be custom made to order? Can Kintsugi be custom made to order?
At Lakeside Pottery Studio, Kintsugi can be made to order using our Kintsugi Gold Effect repair process or the 23.5 Karat gold as one of the following options:

1) Your Pottery is already broken
2) Break your pottery yourself
3) Have us break your pottery
4) Choose pottery from our inventory

See more about our Made to order Kintsugi repair

9) How much does Kintsugi cost?
How much does Kintsugi cost?

The prices of our Kintsugi art varies depending on the number of break lines and their length, and the value of the ceramic piece itself. There is a significant cost difference between true gold powder and our optional metal gold effect process. Most prices range from $100 to $400 but can increase significantly, by as much as 2.5 time greater cost, when true 23.5K gold is used.

10) Is that acceptable to break pottery on purpose to create Kintsugi art?
Through my work, I have encountered about a 50/50 ratio between items broken intentionally versus accidentally reflecting the diverse motivations and experiences people bring to Kintsugi.

By embracing both perspectives, one is able to create art that resonates with a diverse range of individuals, each finding their own interpretation and connection to the work. Whether it's through deliberate symbolism or spontaneous discovery, the ultimate measure of success lies in the impact it has on people's lives. If your art can bring comfort, inspiration, or healing, then it has fulfilled its purpose.

Why do Japanese repair broken objects with gold?

11) How to break ceramic vessel for Kintsugi repair?

The breaking methods I use are different depending on the vessel type and structure. The variables are - is it a bowl, a vase, a plate, porcelain, stoneware, or earthenware? Wall thickness, uniformity, and vessel size also determine the impact point (s) force and tool (e.g., a hummer, or wood). The goal is to have a controlled break so that the break pattern meets your vision and the customer's budget. Breaking it into stages gives me the granularity needed to execute the pattern. Of course, it does not always work the way you wish. Always wear goggles!! Below is one example:

How to break ceramic vessel for Kintsugi repair?

12) Can Kintsugi be applied on glass?
undesirable Kintsugi on glass ghosting effect

While Kintsugi can technically be applied on glass, because of the glass transparency, the profile of the crack and the other side of the Kintsugi application can be seen through the glass body creating an undesirable ghosting effect. This effect would be more pronounced the thicker the glass and less pronounced on colored more opaque glass.

13) Kintsugi and Kintsukuroi is the same? Kintsugi and Kintsukuroi is the same?
tsukuroi 繕い means mending
tsugi 継ぎ means joint
kin 金 means gold, just 2 terms for the same technic

14) Are Kintsugi repaired vessels food safe and can be used in the Kitchen?
A) Kintsugi repaired vessels made with Urushi adhesive and Urushi lacquer can be used in the kitchen and are food safe if made properly. There are some restrictions as outlined below:

1. Do not place an item repaired with Kintsugi in a microwave, a dishwasher, an oven or an open fire.

3. Always wash by hand. Make sure to wash your repaired item gently and avoid scrubbing around the repaired cracks.

4. Be careful not to scratch the repaired parts when using sharp cutlery such as forks and knives.

5. Please make sure that the parts repaired with Urushi lacquer are not damaged by other plates and cups when storing your tableware on your cupboard shelves.

6. Do not place the repaired item in a fridge for too long.

7. Do not soak the repaired item in water for too long.

8. Store the item in a place where it is not directly exposed to sunlight.

B) Kintsugi repaired vessels note made with Urushi adhesive and Urushi lacquer are not food safe and should be used for display only. They can be used with water as long as they are not soaked for hours.

15) Can other metals be used with Kintsugi such as silver, copper or bronze?
Silver, unlike gold, will oxidize in the open air, thus, the typical/traditional Kintsugi process when the metal is applied exteriorly, will inherently change to a dull oxidized colors. When silver (brass, copper or bronze) application is requested, we use Aluminum powder mixed in a proprietary compound sealing the metal, as shown in the example on right, preventing oxidation. Silver Kintsugi

16) Can Kintsugi be used with gemstones
Yes, gemstones, see glass or other ceramic segment can be inserted. This method is called Yobitsugi repair - a short demonstration of how it is done can be seen in this link. Yobitsugi Kintsugi repair using an agate gemstone

17) Can Kintsugi be used on unglazed or porous ceramic
Yes, but when the ceramic is porous, mistakes cannot be undone - the lacquer sips into the clay body staining it permanently. Hands have to always be very clean (or wear silk gloves). Pit fired kintsugi bowl with lid - porous pottery

18) How is Bernardaud Sarkis Gold Kintsugi effect is made?
I have experimented with 22K gold luster, creating a food-safe Kintsugi effect on glazed pottery using Duncan OG 805 Premium Gold overglaze fired to about 1,300 degrees F (cone 18). It is applied to already glazed pottery and can be purchased for about $60. The composition of gold luster, containing actual particles of gold suspended in a pine oil liquid medium. During the kiln firing, the organic pine oil binder is burned off, leaving behind a pure layer of melted 22K gold on the ceramic surface. It's noteworthy that it is available in platinum as well. Despite the small size (2 grams) of the gold luster bottle, it can cover a surprising amount of surface area. This bottle can cover the full top surface of 10 shown heart dishes.
How is Bernardaud Sarkis Gold Kintsugi effect is made

How is Bernardaud Sarkis Gold Kintsugi effect is made

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