Every Monday, words to start the week.
This week, via Brainpickings: a snippet from sculptor Teresita Fernández's keynote address at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts. Though the entire speech is worth reading (for me, it was an absolute gift of a find on this slow, post-vacation Monday), this bit on the beauty of broken pottery struck a particularly poignant chord.
In Japan there is a kind of reverence for the art of mending. In the context of the tea ceremony there is no such thing as failure or success in the way we are accustomed to using those words. A broken bowl would be valued precisely because of the exquisite nature of how it was repaired, a distinctly Japanese tradition of kintsugi, meaning to “to patch with gold”. Often, we try to repair broken things in such a way as to conceal the repair and make it “good as new.” But the tea masters understood that by repairing the broken bowl with the distinct beauty of radiant gold, they could create an alternative to “good as new” and instead employ a “better than new” aesthetic. They understood that a conspicuous, artful repair actually adds value. Because after mending, the bowl’s unique fault lines were transformed into little rivers of gold that, post repair, were even more special because the bowl could then resemble nothing but itself.
Find the rest of Fernández's speech, here. Photo by Jesse Chamberlin.
A few more, just because:
-A Sylvia Plath mix tape.
-The architecture of American houses.
-Chewing gum masterpieces. (Thanks, Dad.)
-An Instagram account dedicated to dirty corners.
-And, lastly, beautiful words from Elizabeth Kolbert, via Stephanie Madewell: Figueres had brought along a camera to document the Bribris’ lives. She discovered that they loved to see photographs of themselves, and so every few months she would trek out of the village, by foot and by donkey, to get the pictures developed. Once, she also brought back a postcard showing New York City at night: "I thought, Let’s see how they interpret this. So I just showed them the photograph, and I said, ‘What is this?" ‘Ah,’ they said. ‘All the little stars of heaven in rows!’ What a beautiful interpretation. They had no concept of what a lit city was. The only light they had seen at night was the stars."
More recommended reading, here. Also, many thanks to those of you who wrote to me with Detroit recommendations — I loved my time there and will post on those adventures very soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful Monday!