abalone, epoxy, lacquer, gold dust
currently 9" x 22" x 27"
2017 – ongoing
Kintsugi (which translates roughly to "golden joinery") is the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics. It's also a philosophy: damage is part of an object’s history, something to be acknowledged and even celebrated. Repair and recovery is respected, rather than disguised or hidden. A thick seam is made where pieces are rejoined, and then a coating of red lacquer is painted over that seam. Finally, gold dust is sprinkled into the lacquer just before it finishes drying. It makes it hard to ignore the crack.
White and black abalone were the first invertebrates to be listed as endangered species. While the red abalone of northern California is not yet listed as endangered, it is highly stressed and has experienced decline. After winter storms, beaches are littered with broken shells. The Fix is built from shards that I’ve collected, using kintsugi to piece them together into one continuous undulating carapace. The repair becomes a reminder of the damage. I’ll continue to build this piece with washed up abalone shards until all abalone are off of the endangered species list. This may very well be a lifetime project, and beyond.