Kintsugi FAQ

Why don't you use epoxy or super glue – surely its easier?
Not always. The lacquer/flour/water method allows you wiggle room. There is time to get all your pieces together. Also the lacquer won’t adhere to glazed surfaces for up to 3 weeks which makes it easier to clean up after application. As it takes several weeks to cure/harden it gives you time to tidy the seam up. Epoxy glues bead up when you press the two seams together and the resulting blob can be very difficult to remove without destroying the glazed surface of the ceramic.
I have heard that the laquer is dangerous to use?
There are several types of lacquer that you can use – one is derived from the sap of the Rhus tree Toxicodendron vernicifluum. This can create a very nasty long lasting rash. There are other lacquers used which are less allergenic – a derivative of cashew nut lacquer and a synthetic lacquer which is virtually hypoallergenic.
Do you use real gold?
I can do, however due to the expense I use a brass powder which looks very similar. You can also use silver powder as well.
Why does it take a long time to fix a piece?
Each application of lacquer takes between 3-7 days to cure. There can be at least 5-8 applications of lacquer on each piece.
My dog/child/etc broke my favourite bowl/cup/vase. Can you fix it?
I sure can. However I am not a ceramic restorer. I have been doing Kintsugi repairs for 2 years now. It takes a few months to repair a piece due to the length of time between each application of lacquer. I can spend weeks polishing the seam between lacquer applications. Please contact me with a good (high resolution if possible) photograph of the bits/piece and I will be able to advise on a course of action.
Where did you learn to do this?
As it is a technique originating in Japan, I have worked with a Japanese Kintsugi master. As with most things ceramic based it takes a while to learn all the different stages of repair and the use of different materials. I consider it to be a lifelong practice. I love to repair broken pieces – it makes a relaxing counterpoint to my daily ceramics production work.
Where can I buy the lacquer (urushi), gold powder etc.
Please contact me and I can supply you with a list of my suppliers.
I really want to learn how to do this technique?
I run classes in Perth, Western Australia. I would also be happy to travel to run a workshop for you or a group. Please get in touch with me to discuss. It is lots of fun and very therapeutic to repair something broken and make it beautiful again.