Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy of Kintsugi celebrates the history of an object by highlighting its repair instead of disguising it. The repair not only makes the object functional again, but also beautiful through its uniqueness.
Although the art of Kintsugi still exists, a modern offshoot of this art is evolving as part of our everyday lives due to the increasing affordability of 3D printing. Due to differing properties of the polymers used for printing and inability to make perfect color/shape matching, it has led some modern makers to highlight their repairs with unique shapes and colors just as with Kintsugi. In an age where almost everything is standardized and disposable, modern 3D Kintsugi is a breath of fresh air that, in addition to breaking the cycle of consumerism, adds beauty to our lives with unique objects that cannot be purchased on Amazon.
The evolution of 3D printing as a reparative art is in its infancy and a community devoted to these designs has yet to evolve but one can find a number of examples of it in 3D printing communities such as Reddit’s Functional Prints. A few examples are listed below:
As far as my own creations in the medical and hospital space, most of my creative interventions are not reparative in nature but a few of my creations do fit the bill and can be found here:
It is my hope that 3D Kintsugi will continue to evolve as a modern functional art form, extending the longevity of our possessions and adding unique and beautiful elements to our lives.