Thursday, 15 November 2012

'Golden Seams'.

In my blog titled 'I'll have the buffet please' I wrote about the different sources there are where a writer can find rich sources of material. In this blog I mentioned that I had discovered that television was one of them. I'm also finding out that, believe it or not, facebook can be a pretty good source too! I am part of a Lupus group on facebook and one of the young ladies on this page loves to share photographs and drawings. I have already used one of her pictures as inspiration in another blog. Earlier this week she posted another picture that really got things firing off in my head.

At face value it might strike you as being a strange source of inspiration, but as we all know looks can often be deceptive. The subject of the picture in question was of a broken Japanese vase that had been repaired. You may be forgiven for thinking that I've really lost the plot this time! What could possibly be learnt from a repaired vase? What makes this damaged object so special?

To explain I need to take you back to the late 15th century Japan when a shogun named Ashuikaga Yoshimasa sent a vase to China to be repaired. Apparently this was quite a commonplace thing to do at this time. When it came back he was disappointed as it had been repaired using ugly metal clips and was no longer the thing of beauty it had once been. This launched Japanese craftsmen on a quest for a new form of repair that could make a broken piece look as good as new, or better. This resulted in the invention of the Japanese art of Kintsugi or 'golden joinery'. This involves repairing objects using a resin that looks like gold which makes the objects look more precious. These repaired objects have become sought after by collectors and they were even the subject of an exhibition in the Smithsonian Freer gallery in March 2009 titled 'Golden Seams: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics'.

How many people are there who have experienced circumstances that have left them broken and in pieces? I know I have. As I've said before very few people sail through life without encountering some adverse circumstances or difficulties. As death is an inevitable part of life, we all lose people that we love and this can leave us feeling as if our hearts are broken. Given time we seem to mend but we are never the same. This applies to other difficult circumstances we go through.

But have you mended using metal clips or resin? Have you come out the other side a better, softer more compassionate person? I'm sure just like me you have come across people who have been left bitter and with a 'chip on their shoulder' by the cards that life has dealt them. These people often seem unhappy and dissatisfied with life. I've also encountered people who ,when you hear their life story, leaves you amazed that they are still standing, yet who seem happy and at peace and who have a softness about them that makes you feel better by just being in there presence.
The shogun was not satisfied to leave his vase held together with metal clips, but instead charged his craftsmen with finding a way to make it, not just as good as new, but even more gorgeous than it was in the first place. Having your heart broken is devastating, being battered and bruised by life's trials is hard. But personally, I would like to be mended with this resin. To make sense of the difficult circumstances of life by emerging a better person and hopefully one who has compassion for others. I love the idea of  being mended or restored with 'Golden Seams'.

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Isabel Johnstone 2012 ©

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