When something is broken, do you hide it away, discard it or try to fix it? Kintsugi, the Japanese art form of repairing broken pottery, argues for the latter. The kintsugi repair process involves fusing the individual pieces of broken pottery back together using urushi, a plant based adhesive lacquer resin, which is then decorated with gold or silver. This technique not only promotes the practice of repair, but also highlights and honours the damage. It transforms the object into something new and often more beautiful than the original.
The practice of Kintsugi can be equated to the process of healing from trauma. Trauma to the mind or body cannot be erased or forgotten, but through healing it has the potential to be transformed into something else. It has the potential to be transformed into something beautiful such as personal growth, caring for others and the world around us. Kintsugi is also associated with “mottainai, a Japanese concept for the regret experienced from waste” (Kintsugisouke, 2009). Considering we live in a world driven by consumerism and threatened by climate change, I believe this is a concept that is increasingly relevant. And it is within this framework that I produced Salvage, a series of prints exploring the relationship between healing and sustainability.