Four necklaces hanging in a row, all made of varying colors and textures, with cracks that have been fit back together and edged with gold.

Kintsugi – Creating Beauty From Brokenness

The first time I learned about kintsugi I immediately resonated with the concept. It’s a tangible display of brokenness and restoration and that ambiguous “beauty from the ashes” that we often talk so much about. It looks how I feel, and the process itself quickly became a refuge in the midst of especially difficult life seasons. 

So What Is It?

Kintsugi literally translates to “Golden Joinery”, and it describes the Japanese art of taking broken pottery and joining the pieces back together, meanwhile, highlighting the cracks with gold. It is a craft that embraces the history of each piece, owning up to the brokenness and using the restoration as a means for glory. 

As a Christian, this concept was especially poignant. Our God is a redeeming God. He works all things together for the good of those who love and follow him (Romans 8:28). He takes what is dead and brings it back to life. By the death and resurrection of his own Son, he now offers us new life. Abundant life. Redeemed life. Becoming a Christian doesn’t erase the past, but it puts the broken pieces into the hands of a God who delights in creating beauty from the shards.

In my first season of dealing with what would soon become PTSD and depression, I began listening to the song “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship. 

“All these pieces, broken and scattered, in mercy gathered, mended and whole…”

It was my anthem. 

Necklace with leafy pattern, broken and restored with gold.

And in this season, my mother made me two beautiful necklaces. She had learned of kintsugi, and had broken a few teacup saucers. Of the pieces, she created necklaces that displayed the glory of brokenness and restoration and reminded me and everyone around me that our God is a restoring God. 

I proudly wore the necklaces and each day was further inspired to try my own hand at creating such pieces. 

Necklace displaying a sunflower, cracked down the middle and restored with gold.

And suddenly my love for kintsugi blossomed. I began collecting plate and saucers of all kinds. I would smash them as hard as I could, and then tenderly pick up the bag. What was whole, was now in pieces. I brought them to my craft counter, sorted the pieces, and then in the presence of my Creator and with the songs of lament pouring out around me, I would sit and create beauty from the wreckage. Fitting the pieces together is a continual lesson in surrender. I am wholly unable to predict or control how they break, and therefore each and every plate is a brand new pattern. The ridges, the density of the material, and the way I throw it, all create wildly different breaking patterns. Each necklace is wholly unique and will never be perfectly replicated.

A necklace with a pick heart pendant made of broken dishes, with a crack down the middle mended with gold.

I soon began taking mugs and bowls and doing the same, except instead of using the pieces to create necklaces, I fit them all back together and restored the structure of the initial piece. The exciting thing is that when smashed in a bag, ALL of the pieces are within the bag. They each go back into the restoration process. Similar to the excitement of creating necklaces, I found the puzzle of fitting mugs back together to be just as satisfying. 

A small brown mug cracked in several places and restored with gold. In the mug is a little succulent.

Kintsugi is one way that I express creativity while enduring the hard seasons. Maybe for you, it’s knitting, embroidery, cooking, archery, remodeling, quilting, or interior design. Maybe it’s none of the above. Maybe you need to bust out that gummy tube of E600, get your gold paint out, and go shatter some goodwill dishes. Whatever it is, I hope you are able to find a space to embrace the hard, put your hands to work creating, and spend time sitting side-by-side with the Living God. 

Curious about what I do with these pieces?

I sell my kintsugi creations on etsy, and it has been a great way to share my hobby with others. It has been so fun to see strangers from all over America order my pieces! Inventory ebbs and flows, but you can check out the necklaces, mugs, and bowls if you follow the link:


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