Kintsugi Inspired Eggshell Art

What started as a studio warm-up exercise has turned into this ever-growing and expanding collection of artwork. As I spent the freezing cold hours of 5-7 am in my studio each morning, I doodled in cleaned eggshells originally slated for the compost in order to warm up my body and mind. As my collection of eggshells grew, I turned to painting in them as well. A chance pre-dawn eggshell painting session where I dropped and shattered a shell I’d been painting led to the connection of the ancient Japanese practice of Kintsugi practice to my eggshell paintings. I hand paint each eggshell before gold leaf is carefully applied as a visual representation of kintsugi. Each delicate eggshell carries not only visual beauty but representation beauty and meaning as well.

 

Along with a varied and wide-ranging palette of joy-inducing colors and styles of mark-making, many of my eggshell paintings also include gold leaf “cracks.” I’ve always loved the Japanese art of kintsugi wherein broken pottery is repaired with gold and rather than trying to disguise the break or flaw, it is highlighted and therefore elevated to a status of beauty. Its age is celebrated, its history is seen, its flaws are revered. I think this is a great way to think about ourselves, others and our relationships as we age - not to try to look like our former, younger selves but to embrace our “breaks and flaws” and to honor them and see the beauty in them. 

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