Make do and mend with kintsugi
At our engagement party six years ago, one of my bridesmaids gave me a lovely vintage plate. It's been carried around with us since then, and served as a souvenir of an important occasion. I kept it on my dressing table to put my jewellery on. I don't tend to sleep with or wear my rings and necklaces around the house when I'm home, so it was a very useful home for these trinkets when they weren't on my fingers or around my neck.
A few months ago though, the cat decided it would be a great bed. He broke it with his butt. It was broken, but too special to just throw out. I'd read ages ago about kintsugi, a Japanese process of fixing broken ceramics with gold rather than throwing them away. Very luckily, An Astute Assembly has recently started offering kintsugi workshops in Auckland.
I went along last weekend and spent a wonderful morning fixing my little plate. You start by gluing the ceramics back together with epoxy, and filling in any cracks or chips with a special putty. Let those dry and sand them smooth, and them paint over the crack and putty with a special lacquer.
You then use a dry brush to pat gold dust along the lacquer line until it is fully covered.
After a week or so (in humid climates like we have here) the lacquer is cured and you can rinse off any loose bits of gold dust.
I really enjoyed the process of fixing my little plate and giving it a new life (away from the cat).
It's also really got me thinking more about making the most of what I have - not just considering my purchases but also fixing things when they break. I need to learn how to darn (yes, I'm a knitter that has no idea how to do this...) and I'm keen to learn sashiko stitching, another Japanese technique, to repair denim.
These techniques are a physical representation of wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy of embracing imperfections. Something I am always striving to be more mindful of.
I came away from the course with a fixed plate, a kit to do my own kintsugi at home, and a strong desire to break a few ceramics around the house so I can repair some more. But it's also really making me think about making the most of what I already have, which is no bad thing!