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.
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.
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.
With paper down on the table I squirted out some epoxy and stirred in the gold.
I used the stir stick to the apply the epoxy to the broken edges and used some quick clamps to hold the pieces together.
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.
It was my first time joining any porcelain, using epoxy or using gold glitter but I was more than content with the results.
Coincidentally, the handle broke a few days after I finished the top and I decided to Kintsugi that too
And here is the final result!
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!