Kintsugi – Workshop Visit and Conversation with ZEN’s Watanabe Atsuko
Pay a virtual visit to the workshop of Watanabe Atsuko, Japanese kintsugi artist and founder of the sustainable pottery and ceramics brand ZEN.
Kintsugi, roughly translating as ‘joining with gold’, is a centuries-old Japanese repair technique which uses urushi (Japanese lacquer) sprinkled with powdered gold and other precious metals to mend broken ceramic and porcelain items. Rather than masking imperfections, the process results in a decoration which acknowledges chips and cracks as part of an object’s history. Craftspeople at ZEN use kintsugi techniques to restore potters’ and ceramic artists’ works which have been damaged during firing and which would otherwise be discarded, giving them a new lease of life.
Following an introduction to kintsugi and the philosophy behind the ZEN brand, guests will receive a guided tour of Watanabe’s workshop in Miyota, Nagano Prefecture and a special live demonstration of part of the kintsugi process.
During this live online event, moderated by Japan House London Programming Director Simon Wright, there is an opportunity for registered guests to ask questions to the speaker.
A selection of restored objects from ZEN is now available for purchase in The Shop at Japan House London.
About the speaker:
Watanabe Atsuko is a kintsugi artist and CEO of sustainable ceramics brand ZEN. After studying Japanese painting and ceramic art at the University of Tsukuba’s School of Art & Design, she worked at STARNET, a gallery and tableware shop in Tochigi Prefecture’s Mashiko, a town famous for its pottery production. In 2008, she opened KAGURE in Omotesando, Tokyo, a shop specializing in natural materials and everyday household items, working there as a branding director for 7 years. Seeking to live in harmony with nature, after giving birth in 2015, she moved to Tōno City, Iwate Prefecture. Since 2021 she has lived in Miyota, Nagano Prefecture. She has been fascinated by ceramic arts and kintsugi for over 20 years.