The art of breaking
Updated: May 3, 2020
Have you ever heard of Kintsugi?
It’s the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold, silver or platinum dusted lacquer. The result is beautiful.
Instead of hiding the cracks, this technique makes them into something new and breathtaking.
This ties into a Japanese aesthetic that embraces the flawed or imperfect and values objects that are marked by wear. They see broken pottery as a simple event in the life of an object, rather than the ending. This way of thinking highlights the beauty of the broken.
I’m obsessed with this idea. If you look at the pictures of the different Kintsugi pots, they are hypnotizing. Each pot is different and unique, and there is something about the cracks that draws you to them.
Being broken wasn’t an ending for these pots. It was the means to becoming something new.
There’s another art concept that I just learned about called Pentimento. Stick with me here.
Pentimento occurs when a finished painting shows evidence of previous work or alterations by the artist. The artist pursued one direction, and at some point, decided to do something different.
Some paintings take time and wear to reveal the revisions underneath, but in others, it is more visible. The key here is that the change happened. In the act of creating, the artist wasn’t afraid to adapt and change in pursuit of their vision. They often see this as proof of the work being done by the original artist, instead of a copy cat.
Here’s why I think this is just the coolest. We are all in the process of creating. We create lives, careers, coffee, days, marriages, special moments, gifts... the list goes on. We are all doing the best we can in the circumstances we are given to be the best humans we can be.
Pentimento honors that process, and the fact that trial and error are an essential part. Artists don’t have it all figured out in the beginning. Maybe they think they do, but as they continue, they aren't afraid to admit their mistakes and try something different or new. They aren’t afraid to admit they were wrong. They aren't afraid to grow.
In a world where we airbrush models and put the pursuit of perfection on a pedestal, the idea of accepting people in process is radical. We carefully curate our Instagram and Facebook accounts, so that we don’t have to show people our process. We make sure no one sees that candid photo where our eyes are half closed before the perfect photo was taken. This whole “perfect” concept is a tempting illusion. I should know, I’m a recovering perfectionist.
The worst thing about believing the “perfect” lie is that we fall in love with people because they are not perfect. Because they show us the parts of themselves that no one else sees. Like when you make a funny noise when scratching your throat, sniffing your food before you eat or insisting on sleeping with a night light.
We love one another more when we pull the curtain back and reveal that we are in process, too. We are messy, and we are imperfect and we’re just trying to make it through the day without spilling coffee on our new white shirt.
You may have noticed that you are reading my writing on a new site, and that’s because you are. I’m launching a new blog. It's centered around a concept that I’ve been developing for the past year called “Rebel to Revolutionary.”
It’s all about the process. I was a proud rebel who took a lot of pride in fighting against the way things were instead of fighting for what they could be. It took a lot of time, prayer and breaking to realize that this way of life wasn’t going to work.
I learned that being broken isn’t a bad thing… it may just be the very thing that makes me human and loveable. It’s when I’ve been at my most broken that I’ve seen most clearly what true beauty and joy really are, and that they are worth fight for.
A revolution doesn’t have to be a political one or a plotline in the musical "Hamilton". Like pentimento, it can just be a change in direction. One that you make in an instant or one that you make over time. It’s changing the rules we live by. It’s the establishment of a new order in our lives.
I have come to believe we all have a revolution waiting within us. It could be our calling, falling in love after a broken heart, or fighting to be the person we are created to be. It begins with lining our cracks with gold and embracing the process.
That’s what "Rebel to Revolutionary" is about. I’m not an expert by any means, but I am willing to share my stumbles, breaks, and wins with you. I hope you’ll join me.
Let the revolution begin.