Niwaki Workshops: London Craft Week Make A Canvas Tool Pouch • Friday 12 May 2023
Transform broken ceramics into beautiful, useful objects
Kintsugi with Iku Nishikawa
Kintsugi was originally developed and practised by makie professionals to repair damaged ceramics. Traditional kintsugi involves the use of a variety of materials along with techniques that allow the practitioner not only to repair ceramics, but also to beautify their repair with metallic embellishments. It’s the exact opposite of invisible mending - in Kintsugi, the flaw becomes a feature of the object.
Although some say it can take a minimum of ten years to understand the materials and cultivate the skill to become an expert kintsugi repairer, Iku will help you to achieve an impressive result in this three hour workshop. Using epoxy glue and putty it is possible to shorten the repair time from two months to one hour. You will learn to finish your repair with urushi (lacquer) and brass powder, with the option to upgrade to silver or gold on the day, for an additional fee, payable to the tutor.
Participants needs come with a pair of working hands and wearing casual clothes, and will receive a Kintsugi plate and starter kit, including a box to keep everything together. The kit includes top quality urushi from Kyoto, brass powder, glue, putty, brushes, a craft knife and sand paper.
This is a fantastic opportunity to learn an unusual but highly practical skill from a well-regarded practitioner and teacher.
Originally from Japan, Iku worked in Tokyo and Milan before moving to Oxford. Whilst assisting at a series of kintsugi workshops and lectures at the Ashmolean Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, she was drawn to the work and innovative craftsmanship of Muneaki Shimode and Takahiko Sato from Kyoto. The workshops were co-ordinated by her husband, who with Japanese government funding, had been asked to introduce the disappearing craft of kintsugi in the UK. Although kintsugi has long been considered a profession exclusive to Japan, under the guidance of Shimode and Sato, she quickly discovered that she had a natural aptitude for the craft and established Kintsugi Oxford in 2014 to spread the word.
Alongside her own practice of kintsugi, Iku has offered workshops in Japan, Italy, Spain and the UK using traditional materials in conjunction with modern synthetic glues, which considerably speed up the process. Privately her kintsugi repairs are always carried out with urushi, before finishing with gold or silver. She uses both traditional and modern adhesives, depending on client budget and the value of the pieces she is working on.
Artists and ceramicists she has worked with include: Lisa Hammond, Bouke de Vries, Kat Wheeler, Claudia Clare, Marcello Putti, Jose Carvalho and writer and curator Dr Bonnie Kemske. She has run workshops with UCL, Kettle’s Yard Cambridge university, Loewe Madrid, Milamore London and New York, Japan House London, Wagamama UK and Japan House London. She is a regular contributor to London Craft Week through the Wagumi gallery in London, amongst others, whilst continuing her repair work.