Tuesday, February 12, 2019

T Stands for Kintsugi



I have some luncheon plates that belonged to my grandmother. I think Dad's mother. I don't really know their provenance. I asked Ma one time who the dishes had belonged to. She said Grandma. Since Ma had them in her china cabinet for as long as I can remember, and her mother was still alive at the time of the asking, I took her answer to mean Dad's mother.

They are hand painted. The cups have "Italy" hand-painted on the bottom, and the plates are stamped "Italy." Most likely mass-produced at the turn of the 20th. century. Perhaps sent from the Old Country as a wedding gift for my grandmother. The sort of item every young bride had to entertain company.

 I have used them once. There are 4 tea cups, 6 plates, and 1 sugar bowl. One of the tea cups has 2 cracks in it. There are 8 other tea cups which I thought belonged to this set, but are slightly different. The shape of the cup is not the same, and the color of the trim is green and not blue as the luncheon set. Blue trimmed plate and green trimmed teacup are pictured above.

I don't believe they hold any value beyond sentimental. I really don't have a use for them, and I'm sure my girlies won't want them. I'd like to keep something that belonged to my grandmother as she passed a month after I was born. But what to do?

I remembered reading about a Japanese art of fixing stuff with gold. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. A special lacquer with gold, silver, or platinum powder is applied to the broken piece. "Since its conception, Kintsugi has been heavily influenced by prevalent philosophical ideas. Namely, the practice is related to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which calls for seeing beauty in the flawed or imperfect. The repair method was also born from the Japanese feeling of mottainai, which expresses regret when something is wasted, as well as mushin, the acceptance of change." from https://mymodernmet.com/kintsugi-kintsukuroi/

I don't have the special lacquer, but I do have gilding size and gold leaf. I could gild the cracks in the cup. Donate the other cups and plates to charity without feeling guilty, and keep the gilded cup as a link to my grandmother.


Gilding tools at the ready


Since the cracks were shallow and narrow, Roberson's Water Gold Size was applied to the cracks with a Brause EF66 nib, a very fine, pointed nib.


The gold size took about 20 minutes to dry. After huffing on the size, 23 karat gold leaf was applied.  


The gold was burnished through a piece of glassine paper with an agate burnisher and a shoe burnisher. Huffing, laying the gold leaf, and burnishing was repeated two  more times on both cracks. (3 layers of gold leaf)

The little cup on display,


and now more of a treasure.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

43 comments:

  1. Huh-that is an interesting technique. I love the idea and I bet it looks cool and a real broken piece to have the gold interwoven. You did a nice job with your fix and your cup looks great. Happy T day. Hugs-Erika

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  2. That's a lovely story, and a great way to repair and enhance a memento. I have a lot from my great aunts and others and find it hard to give them away although I don't much use them. Happy T Day, Valerie

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    1. I was feeling guilty about getting rid of Ma's stuff. There just isn't that much room in the Dollhouse, and so it's time for me to let go.

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    2. You're right, and I must do something like that very soon!

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  3. Your Italian cups and plates saucers look so pretty! That's a fabulous technique, the gold looks amazing and transforms the cup beautifully 😁. Thanks for the inspiration and wishing you a very Happy T Day! J 😊 x

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  4. That china is beautiful. And that repair technique is interesting.

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    1. Using the gold leaf is a nice save of a treasured object.

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  5. Wow I really enjoyed your post. That is a very lovely set-and I remember those were still popular back when we got married 37 years ago-but the ones I had were clear glass not as pretty as yours. Most people don't serve tea and sandwiches much any more.
    I knew nothing about applying the gold leaf so found that very interesting-nice way to save a remberance.
    I wonder if they could be used display pretty fresh flowers somehow.
    Happy T hugs Kathy

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    1. The problem is, I have so much stuff like this, and not a large enough house to store it. Even trying to repurpose all of it becomes a burden.

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    2. I can understand totally-I have been going through our collection of vintage kitchen items-of course I want to keep all of it but just no place for everything at the lake house-Hubs keeps reminding me it is good to downsize lol

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  6. A magical set of lunch plates and good that you found a way to mend the cracks

    Have a very happybT Day

    Love Chrissie x

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  7. I think Grandma would approve too! Nice job! (and pretty cup!) :D

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  8. Those lunch plates are absolutely GORGEOUS! Indeed a great family treasure. I love beautiful dishes (especially when they have special importance and meaning to them).

    May you and your daughter's and grandchildren to come someday enjoy them for many years to come as you have.

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  9. My daughter has a fondness for these sets, with their off-set style, and has a varied selection -none matching- that she uses for light meals. They are sometimes just the right thing :) I think you've chosen a lovely way to display that cup. It's such a hard thing to have family heirlooms and not enough space to keep them. Happy T Tuesday!

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    1. Hard because at this stage we should be down-sizing and not getting a bigger boat

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  10. What a pretty cup and dish! I have read about Kintsugi and love the thought behind using the gold to repair a crack. Def. wabi-sabi. Hard to let go of such sentimental things sometimes... happy T day!

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  11. What gorgeous cups and plates, they are so pretty and how lovely that they have been passed down through the family,
    Have a great week
    Jan #17

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    1. I'll be the last generation in the family to have the cups and plates. Young people don't use or want these items as they have gone minimal.

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  12. I couldn't part with any of the beautiful crockery when it holds special family memories. You did a great job with the gold leaf. For me I would hang on to them, the young ones in later years would probably wish they had been kept.
    Happy T day wishes.
    Yvonne xx

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    1. I have given somethings that belonged to my mother to the Eldest. I have a few pieces set aside for the Young One.

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  13. What a brilliant idea - I have my Mum's old tea set and don't want to part with it but I doubt any of my family would want it anyway! Maybe I should just start to use it!! Happy T Day! Chrisx

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    1. It's sad if these things are just put in a cabinet and not used.

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  14. A beautiful teacup from your grandmother. I love how you filled in the cracks with gold leaf. A wonderful accent.
    Happy Tea Day,
    Kate

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  15. That is really cool. I've heard of gold repairs before but hadn't ever seen it done today. I think I saw a piece on Antiques Roadshow but assumed it wasn't ever done anymore. So cool that you did!!
    Happy T day!

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    1. Well, I didn't follow the proper technique just sort of muddled through.

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  16. This is a great thing to do - and it looks so cool. i have things I treasure and not sure any of my boys will want stuff. I imagine girls are different and they will cherish these some day. I had read about that japanese ...whatever wabi sabi before. I love that idea.

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    1. No, girls aren't really different in that respect. My girlies have never shown any interest in these things.Their generation doesn't go in for fine china, silver, crystal and things that we got to start our homes.

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    2. I think you're right. Thinking of 2 of my DIL's they don't decorate with a lot of knick knacks, mementos ...maybe some framed photos and cute or warm fuzzy sayings that they buy,, say at Marshalls or somewhere ,...they hang on the wall. I wish I could be a minimalist like that - i really do, but I just don't feel cozy when i visit ...houses with little personality in them.

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  17. What a wonderful solution, CJ! I love the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi and the others that were new to me. You've made the cup even more special. It's also great that you documented the process online so your kids can see how and why you did that very special repair.

    What a perfect post for T. Happy T-day! Eileen xx

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    1. Thanks, Eileen. I found the concept of wabi-sabi to be so free. It took a way the fear of ruining that white sheet of paper.

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  18. I can understand your sadness at not being able to keep stuff when downsizing, and I think you have hit on the best solution. The gold technique is beautiful and makes this one piece extra special.
    Happy belated T-Day,
    Lisca

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    1. A friend also suggested taking a photo of the things that would be given away. That way, I'd still "have" them.

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  19. I am sorry for visiting so late. To see why that is, please see this post (https://alteredbooklover.blogspot.com/2019/02/food-might-not-be-my-friend.html) which will explain and I won't have to for each T Tuesday participant I visit.

    Interestingly, I saw a recent repair another internet friend made using gold leaf. Yours turned out great. So glad you shared this with us for T this week, dear.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by while feeling under the weather

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  20. I enjoyed your post, a lovely story.
    I think you did a great job with the gold leaf.

    All the best Jan

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