Kintsugi

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) breaks down into two words – ‘kin’ meaning gold and ‘tsugi’ meaning to join or patch. This centuries-old Japanese repair technique involves using urushi – lacquer – and gold powder to delicately repair cracked ceramics. The art of kintsugi helps restore rather than discard objects and encourages the appreciation of their imperfections by highlighting them in gold. Each piece repaired by kintsugi methods is allowed to retain its value, usefulness and history.

Kintsugi crafters ZEN, a brand set up by Watanabe Atsuko in Tōno City, Iwate Prefecture, take on broken works from revered potters and ceramic artists across Japan and give them a new lease of life by skilfully repairing them using the kintsugi technique. Browse a selection of ceramics repaired by ZEN below, and read more about the repair technique in this kintsugi Story.

ZEN Ozawa Tetsuya Pitcher and Cup

Pitcher £386.00
Tetsuya Cup £155.00

Ozawa Tetsuya lives in Tokoname in Aichi Prefecture, an area celebrated for its ceramic production since the Heian Period (794 – 1185 CE). His pieces are influenced by folk art, the tea ceremony and modern crafts, as well as the typical style of Tokoname-yaki pieces. His ceramics experiment with different textures and have a rustic-feel which goes against the smooth, ordinariness of factory-made pottery. These pieces have been repaired by kintsugi craft-makers ZEN. 

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ZEN Ito Kan Square Plate

£258.00

Ito Kan was born into a family of potters and now runs his own kiln in Okayama Prefecture. His sober style of pottery takes inspiration from ancient civilizations and antiques. He is known for his white bowls and ‘rust silver series’; pieces created by adding silver to corrode the clay and create a unique, silvery shade. These pieces have been repaired by kintsugi craft-makers ZEN. 

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ZEN Tanaka Keiji Nanban Round Vase

£438.00

Tanaka Keiji is a potter working in the rural town of Hino in Shiga Prefecture. Many of his pieces are produced using a manually operated kick-wheel, with which he creates modern-looking ceramics with rustic, natural textures and colours. Tanaka fires his pieces in a wood-fired kiln for a week to create ceramics in deep ambers and reds.​ These pieces have been repaired by kintsugi craft-makers ZEN. 

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ZEN Tanaka Keiji Nanban Binaural Vase

£900.00

Tanaka became an independent potter in 2011 and built his kiln in Kamikomazuki, Hino City, in 2014. He is fascinated with yaki-shime (a type of pottery made by firing dried clay without applying glaze) because it allows him to make use of the clay freely. Now he mainly works in the Nanbu yaki-shime (or Nanban-yaki) style - a less formal and more free-form style of pottery originating from Southeast Asia. These pieces have been repaired by kintsugi craft-makers ZEN. 

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ZEN Tanaka Keiji Nanban Vase

£900.00

A Nanban-yaki kiln uses soil to bake the clay, encasing the vessel with natural materials. A typical piece of Nanban-yaki pottery can take 7 days in the kiln to finish firing. The resulting effect of the unglazed vessel can appear earth-like itself. These pieces have been repaired by kintsugi craft-makers ZEN. 

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