I am in the beginning stages of putting together a 3 day workshop on how to do kintsugi kitsuroi, in Nara, Japan.
Kintsugi is a process that requires a good grasp of the materials and techniques so the process of the workshop will be defined by some hands-on work, discussion of the materials, hands-on practice, discussion of the materials, etc.
I will be working with real lacquer and do some demonstrations with gold but the majority of demonstrations will be with brass.
Participants can expect a complete and thorough understanding of
Drying box, muro
Types of ceramics body
Crack, nyu, repair
Mixing of medium
Securing of pieces
Final pre-metal preparation
Final finish work
The workshop is limited to 5 seats. The price for the workshop will be 200,000 yen, about 2,000$ at todays rate.
My target date is the cherry blossoms of 2015, April, 2015 Lodging is available for a reasonable price in Nara-machi, very close to the site of the workshop.
If you are interested in participating in the workshop you can contact me here.
Here is a video showing application of pure silver onto a cup using real lacquer.
I have a lot of bowls that have blistered glaze. There are only a few choices about what to do with them. I am trying a new option which is to sand them down to the fired body and then using a coat of lacquer to restore the surface.
The photos show my initial attempt, taken through to the second coat. The bowl shows some creep in the lacquer through movement. The lacquer moved during the first coat which I think was too thick. The second coat I applied thinner and also dried the bowl upside down in the drying box
The second bowl has had the blistered sanded down to the surface and is ready for the first coat of lacquer.
I just got a plate that dates from the middle/late 17th. century, a Kakieimon. It has a very poor repair done with some kind of white powder and glue. I will try to undo the repair and re-do it. These types of repairs are usually the most difficult to deal with since the glue is usually not easily removed. This plate has glue that seems to pop off more easily than most.
Here is a video showing how to do general cleanup for kintsugi.
I got an email recently asking if cashew lacquer is a safe material for kintsugi and I was curious why the writer would think it wasn’t. I browsed the web and came across a post and some followup email between a guy who does kintsugi in England and some of his admirers.
The thrust of the posts was that real men use real lacquer, that cashew isn’t ‘real’ enough or that it is kind of touristy. I won’t go into the post word for word but I will answer some of the items put forth in the post. I should also say I almost only use real lacquer so I have no dog in the fight as far as cashew goes, it is just disappointing to see bad information out there.
The writer claims to have learned kintsugi from the master kintsugi artist that is employed by Shosoin. Just to clarify, Shosoin doesn’t have a master kintsugi artist. It is a rare occurrence that something from that collection gets broken and then it is not repaired with kintsugi.
There is a claim in the post that most major museums use cashew for restoration and that cashew only lasts, under light use, for less than 20 years. Major museums don’t repair using kintsugi. Cashew lacquer has only been in existence for slightly longer than that so it is difficult to believe that anyone knows if it will last 20 years or 500 years. Only time will tell. I have pieces I repaired about 8 years ago that I use daily, not gently, that have held up well.
Here is the post by Gas Kimishima and follow-up by Stephan Drescher
I am working on 5 pieces right now.
The first photo is of a cup with a large, reconstructed area and also break repairs. It is almost ready to start the last stages of final lacquer and silver or gold.
The second and third photos are of a different type of kintsugi. The bowl had glaze blistering and so I have removed the blistered glaze down to the fired ceramic base and have applied an undercoat of black lacquer. There is still a ways to go on this bowl.
The fourth and fifth photos are of a badly broken bowl that still needs fill and sanding work before it is ready to move to the next stages of kintsugi.
The sixth and seventh photos are of a bowl that is presenting unusual challenges. The pieces didn’t fit back together well and the surface of the glass is pitted so a lot of medium is dried into the pits. It is a difficult project.
The last photo is another badly broken bowl that has some pinholes in the fill area that will need to be filled.
I have 2 videos, taken at the same time, of filling the holes and cracks in a partially repaired bowl.