“There is a crack, in everything– thats where the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Synchronicity delightfully comes into my creative process once again. Earlier this year, I learned about kintsugi, an ancient art of repairing broken pieces of pottery and melding them with a golden lacquer. It inspired me to recover an old painting I wasn’t ever jazzed about and to reclaim its beauty. And four months later, as the universe loves to play with us, I came across the art of kintsugi once again.
I had the privilege of taking an art workshop led by the artist Lanecia Rouse Tinsley. She shared with us two Japanese philosophies: KINTSUGI (the art of repairing broken pieces of pottery with golden lacquer) and WABI SABI (the art of recognizing the beauty in imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness).
The biggest takeaway I got from this second time around is that: There is beauty in brokenness and in the history of an object. The past experiences and the story an object carries is what makes an object more beautiful. If you have ever read my blog before or gotten know me, you know I am a recovering achievement junkie. Over the years, I have been focused on letting go of a lot of things that just no longer matter to me. In a lot of ways, I don’t like discussing my flaws, my imperfections and my life’s perceived “mistakes.”
As I started repairing my tile in communion with my fellow artists, I began to wonder what else in my life needs to be pulled apart, unraveled and cracked open?
In western culture, there is a stigma associated with brokenness. We are very results driven and like to hide our flaws. Through the workshop, I can see a new shift in the way brokenness is interpreted. With an attitude of stubbornness, many artists hold on to a precious idea about the way a creative project should go.
Once I dropped my tile on the ground and began to piece it back together, a new experience unfolded. I saw new things and new ideas through the cracks. As I slowly held the pieces back with my “magical and golden glue”, the creative process became freeing, meditative and calming. No longer relying on myself to create art, I was able to listen to ancient Japanese wisdom, trust the energy brought forth by the artists around me, and believe in the inspiration that comes from the magic created by unexpected “mistakes.”
Beading is important in the Alaskan Native community to adorn things like fur-lined leather gloves. There’s a practice of purposely putting little flaws in the beadwork to humble one’s self. I thought that was beautiful…to be very skilled at something but intentionally weaving imperfection into one’s work.
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I really, really love this quote. I especially love the “intentional imperfections” purposely woven through the art.