This could be the year we all look a bit more seriously at fixing stuff rather than throwing things away and buying new.
Typically for such an artistic people, the Japanese have a rather beautiful appreciation of repairing broken things, when I was there in November I learnt about kintsugi, which is the art of fixing of broken pottery with gold glue, sort of make-do-and-mend-with-style.
The process dates from the mid 15th century, when one emperor decided the process of fixing valuable broken pots with those metal staples needed a more glamorous make over, so he instructed his craftsmen to come up with a more beautiful alternative. They invented kintsugi, where pots are fixed with gold dusted glue. The Japanese have come to cherish the imperfection of a broken pot fixed this way, seeing it as a creative addition to the pot’s life story. Admittedly they do it beautifully, but it’s like a bit of darning on a sock, sometimes things look more interesting with some mending.
By coincidence I discovered that two dutch sisters Lotte Dekker and Gieke van Lon had invented a New Kintsugi Repair Kit (video above) which allows us to fix modern pottery in the same way, meaning all is now not lost when your favourite plate hits the floor with a crash. The sisters, who founded Humade together told us ‘By messy mending you emphasis the marks and scars of a product giving it a new perspective and beauty while offering it longevity”. They were inspired by the work of Dutch based Platform21’s manifesto ‘Stop Recycling, Start Repairing’ (a blog post all on its own I think, but I digress) and invented the new kentsugi repair kit in response.
I picked up a kit in Amsterdam recently, but the girls sell them through their Humade site, just drop them an email, the kits are 24 euros. They have no UK stockist currently but are looking (they are interested in stylish independents, if any are reading). The UK supplier Mora Approved is here.
It really is dead easy to do and SO glamorous fixing things with gold glue. You can repair all sorts of things, including wood, stone and glass, I have used it on my hand thrown terracotta plant pots, where it looks fab and I’ve even fixed a wooden table leg with it, it’s so lovely once you start you want a touch of gold on everything. The girls advise hand washing dishes rather than putting them in the dishwasher after fixing though.
There’s another interesting Japanese recycling idea coming up shortly, it’s all about mottainai…