Kintsugi–Mending the Broken

Can you remember as a child when you accidently broke something and tried with all your ability to mend it so that no one would notice? I recall the fear and shame this created within me.kintsugi I can also remember thinking that superglue would be my saving grace! But, even with this great invention, I somehow could never repair the broken item to its original state. Imagine my surprise when I learned of the Japanese technique of Kintsugi…I could have told everyone I was simply being an artist!

Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese technique used to repair broken ceramic pieces. “Kint” > gold and “Sugi” >connect. The art of kintsugi uses lacquer and gold leaf to repair the broken plate, bowl, etc…creating what many say is a work of art more beautiful than the original piece. To the kintsugi artists, this work is related to the spiritual practice of finding beauty in broken or old items, giving them new life.

Applied to our lives, the idea of turning the broken into beauty becomes a spiritual practice that frees us from hiding and releases the shame we feel. Kintsugi was the focus of discussion in a recent addiction recovery group I was facilitating. After watching the video on the link I have provided below, the talk turned to our own brokenness. The scars, the wounds we receive, the wounds we have given, the flaws, the cracks, the hurt and pain we all carry. We then took time to reflect by creating images of our own brokenness and visions of mending. 

I was given permission by the man who created this plate to share this photo and his explanation of his image in this blog.


He first etched in the paper plate how he saw the brokenness in his life. You can see in the center the words “self esteem.” He then wrote on the outer circle words that contribute to mending the broken pieces of his life. When it came time to add the gold, rather than just draw a solid line, the lines were formed by individual dots. The reason for not simply drawing a line is because this healing, this mending, takes time. One dot at a time…healing takes place.

What is the brokenness you carry? What contributes to healing the shattered pieces? What beauty do you see in your life from past wounds where healing has taken place?



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