Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chana Bloch: "The Joins"

        Kintsugi is the Japanese art of mending precious pottery with gold.

What's between us
often seems flexible as the webbing
between forefinger and thumb.

Seems flexible, but it's not;
what's between us
is made of clay,

like any cup on the shelf.
It shatters easily. Repair
becomes the task.

We glue the wounded edges
with tentative fingers.
Scar tissue is visible history,

the cup more precious to us
we saved it.

In the art of kintsugi,
a potter repairing a broken cup
would sprinkle the resin

with powdered gold.
Sometimes the joins
are so exquisite

they say the potter
may have broken the cup
just so he could mend it.

"The Joins" by Chana Bloch. Text as published in The Southern Review (Winter 2014).

Curator's note: Kintsugi is the Japanese way of honoring and repairing broken ceramic objects with a special lacquer mixed with silver, gold or platinum. It's an embracing of the flawed or imperfect, honoring it as essential. As the artist Barbara Bloom writes, "[Japanese kintsugi artists] believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful."

Art credit: A bowl restored the kintsugi way by Morti and Patty at the Lakeside Pottery and Ceramics Restoration Studio, image by unknown photographer.


  1. That last stanza makes me feel very thoughtful, it seems applicable on a wider scale. Do we sabotage ourselves just to stimulate more creation?

    1. Certainly a question to be very mindful of, yes?


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