Kintsugi

Once I had a beautiful plate which was a gift from my sister. As a writer I love the classics and the stories I grew up with. The plate was a a Royal Albert plate with a quote from a Beatrix Potter book. Sadly, the book went for a walk of the cabinet in my kitchen with help from a vibrating washing machine. I didn’t have the heart to throw away the pieces as it meant so much to me. Then I stumbled across a Japanese craft called Kintsugi. This craft works on the premise that you take the broken and highlight the flaws making it into something beautiful. So I set to work.

All you need for a project like this one is something broken. I also had an egg cup which was a gift from a friend so I started with that.

Because this was such a simple break, it was easy to fix.

The tools you need are:

Epoxy resin, gold mica powder and a lot of patience. It also helps if you have some nail polish remover containing acetone. You’ll also need something to mix the epoxy resin with and on – I used a wooden craft stick and the lid from a plastic container, a craft knife to cut away excess resin and a brush for brushing on the mica powder.

Firstly I made myself comfortable and set out my workstation as you can see in the photo. The surfaces of the broken bits of china were clean so it made it easier as there was only one break. Next I tuned into YouTube and watched several demonstrations on how to Kintsugi. One guy said the easiest way is to mix the mica powder with the epoxy resin and apply it that way, but this changes the colour of the gold and it stays tacky for a long time so when I tried it, I ended up covering the join with the gold powder so it was sort of pointless to begin with.

As you can see, the egg cup looks fabulous with the hint of gold. So I set to work on the plate. Let me tell you right now that it took more than a few hours. In fact, it took me weeks to glue the plate back together.

I think I glued it together and soaked the epoxy resin off with nail polish remover more than once. I didn’t realise that it adds a bit of a layer and the pieces don’t fit together properly. I used an emery board to file away a few bits of the china so I finish the job properly and there was a hole where some of the pieces were so tiny that they weren’t worth keeping so I baked some white polymer clay and cut a piece to fit.

When you use epoxy resin, it takes a few minutes to tack and slides around a bit so if you’re thinking of taking up Kintsugi, choose something easy to begin with.

This is the finished product.

I’m quite proud of my first attempts and all it needs to accompany it is a Bonsai tree.