Kintsugi / 金継ぎ - The Art of Precious Scars & Broken Beauty
by Naoko Fukumaru
Kintsugi, the Japanese art of golden joinery, is a five-hundred-year-old method of restoring damaged ceramics, seen as enhancing their beauty and value by celebrating their imperfection and impermanence. Kintsugi uses a special tree sap dusted with gold powder to highlight (rather than hide) restorations.
Naoko Fukumaru practices authentic Kintsugi restoration which uses traditional method and materials to innovate, explore, and expand the confines of what it means to be “beautifully broken”. The benefit of Kintsugi is that it is 100 percent food-safe. This is not generally the case when using synthetic materials and European/Western repair techniques.
Naoko Fukumaru was born in Japan to a third-generation antique auction house family, the business beginning with her great-grandfather collecting unwanted broken objects by wheelbarrow. Growing up surrounded by fine arts and antiques, She began to experiment with broken objects, a passion she built into a career. She graduated from West Dean College, Chichester, England in 2000, with a post-graduate diploma in Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration which led her to more than two decades of working as a professional ceramic and glass conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum and other institutions in the USA, Europe, Egypt and Japan. Working with international museums and cultural heritage has honed her restoration skills to expert levels. She has been involved in major restoration, conservation and fabrication projects including The Last Supper by Leonard da Vinci, The Tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt, Caravaggio and Veronese paintings, The Thinker by Rodin, The Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera as well as working on projects for Yoko Ono, Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović, Peter Greenaway and Marc Quinn. Her present work aims to take these skills beyond invisible perfection, to make the imperfect beautifully visible. She applies her experience of Western and European invisible restoration towards the more artistically creative methods of traditional Japanese Kintsugi. Instead of hiding restorations, She showcases them, allowing imperfection and impermanence to be featured and embraced.