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Rachel Sinclair Scott


Kintsugi, also known as kintsukuroi, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.

As a philosophy, kintsugi is similar to the Japanese philosophy of embracing of the flawed or imperfect.  Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear from the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken; it can also be understood as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting cracks and repairs as events in the life of an object, rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.

The philosophy of kintsugi can also be seen as a variant of the adage, "Waste not, want not".

Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of mushin (無心, "no mind"), which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change, and fate as aspects of human life.

Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of Mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as "no mind," but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions.

The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as "mono no aware", a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, "things" outside oneself.

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The biggest changes in life can come from just taking that first step.  Facing the fear, embracing the risk, trusting your intuition and venturing into the exciting unknown.

- Rachel Sinclair Scott

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Geraldine, New Zealand

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