My Kintsugi Toilet Posted on 2023-11-06 by Dave Fowler

A number of years ago I was living in an poor apartment in a good location with some great friends. This apartment came with a shattered and frequently disabled toilet that was lovingly kept on life support with a patchwork of fishing wire and tape by my friend and landlord, a handy mechanical engineer.

Broken toilet

During this time I attended an excellent conference by The School of Life. One of the many presentations there exposed me for the first time to the art of Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese art AND philosophy that (similarly to wabi-sabi) embraces and celebrates imperfection. The name is derived from it's literal meaning:

kin - golden tsugi - joinery

It's quintessential example is that should a bowl break, instead of just disposing of it one might join it back together with gold. The result would be a bowl that's even more beautiful than the original - one that's cracks are not hidden but highlighted and praised for making piece all the more interesting.

kintsugi bowl

The presentation triggered a big epiphany! I wasn't immediately sure how to apply this philosophy to my life, but it did strike me that it was exactly what I needed to fix my toilet problem!

Gold Joining the toilet

I first found that the closet did have a complete set of the shattered porcelain pieces.

broken pieces broken top together

With the help of some online research I bought some epoxy and some gold pigment

With paper down on the table I squirted out some epoxy and stirred in the gold.

gold glue

I used the stir stick to the apply the epoxy to the broken edges and used some quick clamps to hold the pieces together.

glue up

I would glue and clamp two pieces together, and after a few hours I started gluing the pairs together. This saved from having to do too much complex clamping.

more glue

It was my first time joining any porcelain, using epoxy or using gold glitter but I was more than content with the results.

close up top

Coincidentally, the handle broke a few days after I finished the top and I decided to Kintsugi that too

kintsugi toilet handle

And here is the final result!

finished kintsugi toilet

It breathed a lot of fresh life into a toilet that should have been retired ages ago. Years later it's still in active use. I wouldn't be surprised if one day it ends up in a museum for being such an excellent example (and execution) of the art and philosophy of Kintsugi!