Art That Honors the Fragility of Life

By Debra Faith Warshaw
Kintsugi Music

What makes the poets sing?

February 2015

It’s the poetry of life, the human condition, the highs and lows, the hard knocks, the lessons. These are the universal messages that beg for attention, comfort, acceptance, compassion and understanding. The great poets, musicians and artists of the ages have been most inspired by our shared and often difficult life experiences. There is no such thing as a new problem.

A song lyric, a great photograph, a painting, a film, a novel -these are just some of the mediums by which we get to appreciate the fragility of life, the strength and potential of our character and the resiliency of the human spirit.

To this end, it comes as no surprise that Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi), the Japanese style of “pottery repair,” is being embraced and recognized by today’s artists, writers and musicians.

It is the perfect metaphor for life.

The alternative rock band Death Cab for Cutie has titled their latest album “Kintsugi” and in a recent article with Rolling Stone magazine, they explained why, “It's making the repair of an object a visual part of its history. That resonated with us as a philosophy, and it connected to a lot of what we were going through, both professionally and personally.””

Hey Rosetta, another current rock band hailing from Canada used an image of a Kintsugi bowl on the cover of their new album “Second Sight,” and authors Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown have been writing and tweeting lately about Kintsugi and how much the message has resonated with them in their lives.

For those that don’t know exactly what Kintsugi is {About Kintsugie Gifts), it is an ancient Japanese process whereby cracked and damaged pottery gets repaired with real gold allowing the gold seams to become a very intentional and visible part of the finished and repaired piece.

Paul Pustelnik, artist, founder and CEO of Kintsugi Gifts, one of the very few artisans creating these pieces in North America, describes the powerful Kintsugi message as “More beautiful for being broken.” He explains, “We are all broken to some degree or another. Let’s be thankful for the gifts of strength and character this brings out in us. Our brokenness does not define us in a negative light. It shows that we take chances, we try and sometimes we fail, but we can pick ourselves up and keep going."

Paul (along with his 4 children) decided to tweak the traditional style of Kintsugi. Instead of real gold, they created their own modified version of the glue using gold leaf paint. This allows Kintsugi Gifts to reach a much wider group of people in need of this powerful and life affirming message.

Paul says: “Not everyone can afford a real gold piece of Kintsugi art and the message is really in the metaphor, not the materials used. In fact, it’s quite the opposite to anything materialistic.”


As a life coach, I regularly see the difficulties people face accepting the parts of themselves they consider “damaged.” However, the human spirit’s authentic nature is to persevere and we will thrive best by moving forward, choosing to heal and learning to embrace our “cracks.” We need to find love and compassion for our perceived imperfections and to realize the universal connectedness of it all.

Acceptance is, at first, an inside job, and once that job is underway we can celebrate our true value and our shared gold.

I’m grateful for today's messengers like Kintsugi Gifts and Death Cab for Cutie for spreading the love of this beautiful and eloquent metaphor to the masses.

Debra Faith Warshaw
Love and Relationship Coach