2 December

Kintsugi
The origins of Japanese Kintsugi are unclear. Around 1500 craftsmen began to repair or present broken pottery that had been reassembled with gold seams. Many aspects of Japanese material culture have cosmological metaphors. In the case of kintsugi this includes: embracing imperfections, recognizing the history or life of objects, countermanding waste with repair, accepting change, and even “illuminating…vicissitude”. Bartlett in wikipedia 
 
Outside of Japan, a recent fad of kintsugi uses the technique of mixing instant epoxy with gold paint powder. Aside from the violations of tradition, this method is neither heat-proof nor food-safe. The traditional method mixed real gold dust with lacquer, whose slow drying time meant a repair could take months. 
 
I did some research and decided to try mixing gold paint powder with shellac, which is a food-safe and very sticky wood sealant. I found “white” (blonde to the eye) shellac flakes. These are mixed with 90% grain alcohol (not denatured or isopropyl). I found that the mix needs to be so thick that it’s not runny in order to make the joins. This required a bit of remixing. In a warm room the flakes and alcohol will dissolve overnight.
 
Like lacquer, shellac has a very slow drying time. I give each join about a week before moving on. The slowness means that pieces can slip out of place, and be returned or adjusted, so I check the joins several times a day.
 
I also appreciate that any drips can be removed with a razor blade and alcohol for a fresh start. The weight of the plate can work against the new join. I tried supporting the plate with wood chips and bubble wrap and pressing the joins together wine wine bottles, but the best technique seems to be to let gravity doing the pressing. I gathered a big bowl of acorns (sand would also work) to stabilize the joint.
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