Kintsugi, in lay-man's terms, is the Japanese art of making something which has been broken and mended into something more beautiful than the original object, often with molten gold or other precious metals.
Harriet Lawton came to give us a talk a while ago and we were fascinated to learn more about the technique that she has developed for "mending" broken china with voile and gold thread.
We started off by choosing a piece of crockery from Harriet's collection of plates, cups and jugs. Some were already broken and instead of making a whole thing broken and whole again, it was possible to select pieces and make a kind of patchwork.
Next we wrapped the item we had chosen in a cloth and hit it with a hammer, hopefully breaking it into about 3 pieces but more likely about 9 pieces which of course meant much more work putting it together again!
We then filed off any very sharp edges, and roughly cut some voile to the shape of each piece of broken pot, pinning the voile around the shard.
We took the china out of the pocket we had pinned and machined along the line of the pins, using the crockery as a template.
After we had stitched round three sides of the pocket the excess voile was trimmed off, leaving enough of a margin on the open side to allow for turning in.
Because the voile has some give, it was easy (no it wasn't!) to pin it quite tightly around the piece of crockery, even if it had irregularly shaped edges.
We then used ladder stitch to seal the pocket and worked out where all the pieces had to go to make the piece whole again (a photo definitely helped with this!)
Finally we joined the edges of the pockets to each other with decorative stitches, for example herringbone, using gold thread, to give a flexible, strong and attractive seam.
Here are some of Harriet's completed pieces to give you an idea of what the finished item should look like - hopefully we will have some members' pieces to show you following our January meeting...
Some of the pieces had small gaps "darned" with the gold thread.
Cups and jugs were not for the faint-hearted!