For this project I drew inspiration from the Japanese ceramic art of kintsugi, which involves repairing broken crockery with gold lacquer and highlighting the beauty in imperfections. The object I decided to create was a cup out of paper.
I chose a cup because it is a very intimate object: we touch and drink from a cup whenever we use it. I always thought of cups as an object of healing or relaxation: whenever I drank from a cup, it would often be a warm, soothing drink and I would feel more energized afterwards.
The paper was first ripped into small pieces, mixed with water to be bonded together, broken, painted over, and glued together. I initially tried to shape the paper into a flat circle. This was a very time intensive process that took several days since the transformed paper needed time to dry.
However, when looking at kintsugi, I noticed how, despite the “imperfections” being highlighted in the pottery, they still looked very smooth and perfect to me. I intentionally decided to go for a more unrefined look, taking the idea of imperfection a little further into the concept of healing. I wanted to show how healing doesn’t always look pretty and perfect, and that during this process, people can undergo major transformations where they are not the same as where they started. I chose to convey this concept through making the gold lacquer much more crude than for actual kintsugi, turning the once flat paper sculpture into a cup, and making the rim of the cup uneven to show that such people can be a little “rough around the edges”.
Materials: paper, glue, and acrylic