Beautiful Kintsugi Dogs
‘Kintsugi’ is the Japanese art form where broken pottery is repaired with gold or silver lacquer. Not to repair for repairing’s sake, but to embrace and illuminate the flaws and damage occuring through the lifetime of an object. Kintsugi is a celebratory form of aesthetics and philosophy which values the imperfect. What’s this to do with dogs you may well be wondering, as was I when my friend, artist and creative collaborator, Annabel Wilson first talked to me about it this week.
Annabel’s in the midst of her brilliant Rescue Dog Days of Summer art project. Being immersed in the personal stories and lives behind the statistics of dogs in rescue, it’s forced an introspective pondering for her on what society does and means to dogs today. Not only in the sometimes callous and casual discarding of them, as well as the abuse many suffer, but also what their lives can become when they’re adopted. A lot of the dogs she’s been sent for inclusion in her project, have emerged from backgrounds of awful sadness and cruelty to flourish in their new homes and lives. And this reflects the philosophy of Kintsugi: that something broken should not be thrown away, but repaired with care and love, and go on and continue in a more beautiful than ever state.
Inspired by the philosophy of Kintsugi Annabel wrote a poem and when she sent me it, with her drawings of Twinkle and Susie-Belle, I was moved to read up more on it. Thinking about how dogs are discarded in our consumer-driven society, this line really chimed with me:
While the general Western consensus on broken objects is that they have lost their value, practitioners and admirers of kintsugi believe that neverending consumerism is not a spiritually rewarding experience.
The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration.
Annabel’s poem captures what many of us know and feel when it comes to our ‘flawed’, ‘broken’ but absolutely beautiful, always to be celebrated dogs.