A broken dish
a torn pair of pants
A finger poked through a paper screen
a shirt torn on a too sudden lunge
a sweater caught on a passing hook
The end of the world?
No! Just the start of something new – and satisfying.
Better maybe. More rewarding surely.
Piece the plate back together.
Sew the pants. Patch the shirt. Darn the sweater
and you wind up with something original, that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Something that has a story to tell.
Dropping, tearing, ripping, snagging are easy. Mending requires time, technique, skill and above all patience.
But the satisfaction of bringing something back to life, not giving up, restoring the tear, patching the pants, honoring what we wear, use, live with, can renew a contract we have with the things we make or buy. For better or worse, in breakage and in use, we will care for them, and keep them.
Things can be fixed.
No reason to give up on things just because they’re broken.
A wonky coffee pot by my favorite potter, Omine Jissei in Okinawa, was just a trial piece, he told me. One of a kind. It was long my most precious treasure for its oddly handmade pulse. Until an earthquake tipped a piece of charcoal bamboo over on it and broke the lid. Oh no! It is ruined, I thought. Of all pieces to break! But then I gingerly wrapped it and took it to my favorite mender at Morita antiques in Aoyama who repaired it with the most delicate tracings of gold lacquer.

And then – voila! the magic of taking the shattered, the smashed, the ripped, the broken and painstakingly piecing it back together again into a newly viable whole which contains the disappointment the sadness of the break and reconstitutes it with the reassurance and gladness of the newly whole and usable. The empowerment of not giving up! You realize that Ah hah! this has beauty too. I can wear this again. I can use it again. Better than ever maybe !?

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18 Responses to A TIME FOR MENDING

  1. Suzan Vigil says:

    I love this post AMY! I believe it also applies to our souls. And our broken hearts! Hope you are well and safe. Love to all your family 💜💜

  2. The post is so true and unfortunately in today’s throw away world people miss out on two pleasures – one the satisfaction of ‘making whole’ again and secondly having something that is a ‘one off’. This applies to the above comment as well mending a broken heart or soul. The power one has when they have/ or mended treasures
    Keep well

    • So very very true, Sandra!
      The power of the mend.
      Of not giving up.
      And yes of course. Broken hearts and souls may be more difficult to mend.
      But the result is lasting.
      Maybe breaking is important in life?
      Thank you for sharing this with me.

  3. Love this post Amy. Your teapot is the best! And so is your way with words.

  4. Oh so true! I have broken several pieces and mended them with . . .shsh! . .Araldite, they look just as lovely and worth half the amount, so I no longer have to worry, I enjoy them more. Maybe someone could teach me how to mend with gold lacquer?

    • Hi Grumpy – love your name!
      I don’t know Araldite, but maybe it is what my daughter uses that she found on Amazon.
      The only danger with some of these alternate repair methods is that they don’t tend to last. KIntsugi is an arduous process that takes repeated applications of lacquer and then gold, and gold is very pricey now. Do find a teacher if you can! Meanwhile keep mending.

  5. paulab253 says:

    LOVE! thank you for this. Be well.

    Paula in Seattle

    • Oh Paula How good to hear from you in Seattle. But don’t forget to come back. Japan and I have arms open for your return. xx Amy in Karuizawa where we finally have buds on the trees. Sakura still 10 days away!

  6. Susan Rosefielde says:

    Do you know of any repairers in eastern U.S.? thank you.

  7. razia says:

    thank you, i love all your posts, full of surprises and wisdom and skill, with much appreciation, love razia

  8. I love this idea from Europe — a repair cafe in Amsterdam where volunteers mend broken things for free because “they just like to fix things”. It’s a good feeling to mend and make something work again instead of throwing it into the trash. Thank you for telling us about the lid of Mr. Omine’s teapot and its journey back to life. If I recall correctly, the gold lacquer “kintsugi” mender at Morita Antiques fixed things according to the age of the customer (elders getting priority) so they can enjoy the mended thing asap. love from Berkeley. Nancy https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/world/europe/amsterdam-tries-to-change-culture-with-repair-cafes.html

    • Oh no! I have only just now seen this. Now when you are so much on my mind. I have recommended your simmering, troubling beautiful 50 Objects to an artist/ poet /Instagram friend and hope he tunes in. This repair cafe in Amsterdam is the MOST FANTASTIC IDEA! How can we start one here? The land of people who love to fix things! We all need that “journey back to life” right now! Sadly, Mr. Morita san’s fixer has gone to his own reward, so I have been casting about for others – leery about trying myself with my shaky hands! But my new shoku in in Karuizawa is good and cheap! though not quite such a purist with materials used. Gold is too expensive right now. More to come. Love you Celadon!

  9. sarita says:

    I just found you. Looking forward to reading back thru your archive whilst sitting in the sun which has finally arrived here in Oregon.

    Your teapot is stunning. A piece with heart and soul, mended character. A true treasure! ♡

    • The good thing about Corona is that it is giving us time to sit back and catch up. With the sun out, you’ve got a winning combination! Happy reading ! I hope you enjoy it!

  10. sarita says:

    Treasures…of the ♡. Perfect in their imperfections.

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