Modern Kintsugi gilding – gold leaf repair for ceramics with Richard Walker

Picture framing, gilding, decorative finishes and upholstery

Ref: S1D12110

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About this course

An introduction to Kintsugi, using modern materials and methods. Kintsugi is the art of celebrating damage, by showcasing it as part of an object's journey. Use gold-leaf to repair broken ceramic or pottery items.

Course Description

Kintsugi (golden joinery) first started in Japan around 500 years ago. The philosophy of Kintsugi is to celebrate the damage caused to a vessel, by showcasing the cracks and damage with the use of pure gold and resin. Instead of hiding the imperfections, they should be celebrated. A philosophy that is seen not only for craft but perhaps also for life.

Favoured family ceramics and heirlooms were once repaired with ugly staples or bound together with glue that could not hide the cracks or repairs. Japanese craftsmen overcame this problem by binding the piece back together with a permanent adhesive made of natural resins and powdered gold. The repairs thus became highly visible and showcased the repairs as part of the history of the unit. The style became so popular, that people would deliberately smash or damage valuable pieces for them to be repaired in this way.

In this one day class, we will look at the art of Kintsugi using contemporary glues and 23.5 karat gold-leaf. You may bring broken pieces from home to work on, or bring along a piece to break specifically for the course. You may also work on as many pieces in the one day as time will allow.

Small pieces of missing ceramic/china may be recreated using modern epoxy resins (up to around 1-2 cm).

You will be repairing these pieces using superglue as a bonding agent. Any small holes or missing pieces will be recreated using epoxy resin. All the repairs will then be coated with a water-based product (Instacoll Rapid) to build up a thick layer covering the cracks. 23.5 karat gold-leaf will then be applied to the Instacoll adhesive, effectively making the cracks visible as solid gold lines. The final result will then be cleaned and burnished.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • The cost of the glue, masking tape and materials for application and 5 sheets of 23.5 karat gold-leaf (more gold-leaf will be available for purchase if required).

What students need to bring

  • Any ceramic/pottery/china unit that is broken and in a relatively complete state (although small pieces can be recreated…), for example a non-valuable cup, plate, teapot, ornament, keepsake, as long as it is able to be glued back together (superglue) and safely handled.
  • After repair, the units will have aesthetic repairs conducted, but this will not make them safe for use as in cups, etc.
  • Abrasive wet and dry paper – 320, 600, 800 (1 sheet of each). These will be available to buy from the tutor/college if you have none.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of gilding tools/brushes.
  • Abrasive wet and dry paper – 180, 320, 600, 800


Richard Walker

Richard Walker studied gilding at the University of Portsmouth. Gilding for twenty years and teaching for fifteen, he has developed a global reputation to top artists, framers, furniture designers, interior designers and museums, where he is renowned for creating new and interesting ways of gilding surfaces in traditional and modern methods.​

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