February 3, 2024


There are ever so many reasons to love Japanese culture. One of the aspects that is especially appealing to me is that of kintsugi, the art of repair. 

Kintsugi is a lovely tradition of restoring broken pottery rather than simply throwing it out in the trash. The pottery is brought back to a whole new -- even more valuable -- life by putting the piece back together using lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum, thus celebrating the history of the piece by making it even more worthy, rather than treating it as something that needs disguise or disposal.

This act of restoration is a metaphor for embracing any flaws or imperfections in ourselves and our lives. It also teaches us that life, along with all its roadblocks and unpredictability, is never irretrievable and, through care and time, life can be pieced back together to become even more beautiful and celebrated. The fragility of life and self is then celebrated and embraced instead of mourned.

Below is an example of Kintsugi: Isn't it lovely?

Although the art of kintsugi is usually applied toward the repair of pottery, I thought it could be interesting to try to achieve this effect through papercrafting. My attempt at paper kintsugi is shown below:

I chose a piece of Designer Series Paper that I thought looked somewhat pottery-like and went to work, first destroying it, and then repairing it, making it even more beautiful than it originally was.

Tearing the 4" x 5 1/4" piece of DSP into four distinct sections, I proceeded to repair it by putting it back together onto a 4 1/4" x 5 1/4" card base. The unsightly "cracks", i.e., tears, needed to be fixed in a hurry. 

I added adhesive over the tears, then added the papercrafter's "gold", leafing flakes. It was a messy process, and frustrating, the act of brushing off and beautifying the gold flakes, but I think it turned out quite well, achieving what I'd hoped to before I started. 

A person wouldn't necessarily need to do the tearing. You could just go ahead with a solid piece of your chosen DSP, add "cracklike" adhesive, then covering the "cracks" with the leafing flakes. But, then, you wouldn't be following the reasoning behind the beautiful art of kintsugi, that of repairing something that is broken, since it wasn't even broken in the first place. 

Once my kintsugi was completed, and my DSP was even more beautiful than when I started, I turned my masterpiece into a card by adding a die cut greeting and a few spots of bling.

Kintsugi symbolizes how we must incorporate our wounds into who we are, rather than try to merely repair and forget them.
David Wong




  1. That is beautiful! I had heard of this practice before and never thought of applying it to paper or cardmaking.

    1. Thank you! You will have to give it a try sometime!

  2. Dear Nadia, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It means ever so much to me.

  3. I wouldn't be alive without crafting to keep me centered. Thanks for your comment!

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