Kintsugi Artist Talk With Naoko Fukumaru

Presented by Art Gallery of Burlington

   Thursday, January 6, 2022

   2 to 3:30 PM
   Online, via Zoom Webinar

Online via Zoom Webinar | Thursday, January 6, 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST

As clay artists and enthusiasts, we are familiar with the occasional break. In this presentation, Vancouver-based artist Naoko Fukumaru discusses embracing weakness and fragility, working with broken pottery to create new works, and understanding the evolutionary life of ceramics. In conjunction with AGB’s How to Read a Vessel exhibition, this talk explores Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending pottery with a special tree sap dusted with gold powder to highlight restorations. The talk addresses the differences between Western and Japanese kintsugi practices, as well as the origins, influences, materials, and processes. Join us for this one-hour talk to engage with themes of healing, philosophy, contemporary arts, and the limitations of creative license as it intersects with restoration.

Naoko Fukumaru’s work aims to move beyond invisible perfection, to make the imperfect beautifully visible. She applies her experience of Western and European invisible restoration towards the more artistically creative methods of traditional Japanese Kintsugi. Instead of hiding restorations, she showcases them, allowing imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness to be featured and embraced.

There are often incredible stories and human dramas that come with the broken ceramics she restores with Kintsugi, and whenever possible she tries to learn the history of the piece, how it came to be damaged, and the significance it has. She holds all these histories and stories within her as she lovingly restores each piece. She communicates with each of the broken ceramics while she is repairing them and she is aware that she is not only restoring the object itself but the spirits of the ceramics, sometimes help to restore the people and the histories behind them. The Kintsugi restoration process can be a part of our own internal growth and healing. Sometimes she metamorphosize from a Kintsugi artist into a ceramic therapist who can transform trauma into beauty through the Kintsugi process.

Additional Information:

Photo credit: Naoko Fukumaru with Baltimore Painter, South Italian Funerary Vase, 320 and 310 BCE. Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts, Conservation Department Imaging Lab

For more information, contact Jasmine Mander, Curatorial Assistant at


Naoko Fukumaru was born in Kyoto, Japan to a third-generation antique auction house family, the business beginning with her great-grandfather collecting unwanted broken objects by wheelbarrow and repairing at home. Growing up surrounded by fine arts and antiques, she began to experiment with broken objects at an early age, a passion she built into a career. She graduated from West Dean College, England in 2000, with a postgraduate diploma in Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration which led her to more than two decades of working as a professional ceramic and glass conservator at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and other institutions in the USA, Europe, Egypt, and Japan. Working with international museums and cultural heritage has honed her restoration skills to expert levels. She has been involved in major restoration, conservation and fabrication projects including The Last Supper by Leonard da Vinci, The Tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt, Caravaggio and Veronese paintings, The Thinker by Rodin, The Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera, Yoko Ono, Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramović, Peter Greenaway, and Marc Quinn.