The luminous imperfections of gold transform broken ceramics and pottery into pieces worth looking at using ancient kintsugi techniques.
Auckland-based Ema Frost is an artist of “too many things”, including painting, sculpture, illustration and ceramic art.
Gaining joy from kintsugi, she is thrilled to share her love of Japanese art through her self-directed workshops here in Tauranga at the Historic Village this month.
“Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese art form where you repair broken pottery with gold,” Ema explains.
“There’s a really nice philosophy behind it all – it’s about embracing imperfections and not hiding anything.”
“How it happened, in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo [the main residence of the Emperor of Japan] a part broke and they sent it to an expert in China and he fixed it. However, Ema says the results were disappointing after the breaks were fixed with staples.
“They ended up giving that piece to the local craftsman to come up with something better…and that’s where the kintsugi was born.”
Japan to New Zealand
Much of Ema’s work is influenced by Japan, which grew further after a trip to the country in 2016.
“I think in a past life I was Japanese,” Ema laughs. “I love everything Japanese.”
While in Japan, Ema took kintsugi workshops and brought those skills back with her to New Zealand, where she has been teaching the art for over three years now.
Traditionally, kinstsugi techniques used resin from the Urishi tree, but this dries extremely slowly and would take a month to dry, Ema explains.
His workshops use a modern resin mixture, which allows parts to be made in a single session.
“It’s the most effective contemporary means that still gives the same results, and it uses gold dust [in the resin]and then I also use gold leaf because of the liveliness of gold which really makes it stand out,” says Ema.
Ema says you have to be “really present” during the kintsugi process and describes it as both meditative and therapeutic.
“A mother and her daughter came from Christchurch and they had some heirlooms that were smashed in the earthquake,” Ema says.
“They had obviously kept them and didn’t know what to do with them and then went through this process [kinstsugi] on them. They just loved it – they got to display it again and show everything he’s been through now in one piece.
Ema’s kintsugi workshops will take place on Sunday, June 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Artery based in The Historic Village.
To book visit: https://www.theincubator.co.nz/the-artery
For Sunday August 14 of Ema, visit of the workshop: https://emafrost.com/collections/workshop