KIZU – FLAWS


My Judo sensei was relentless, he’d walk around us casually, then without warning sweep or throw us to the ground. With a smile, he’d then point out the weakness or flaw in our stance that allowed him to throw us.
Flaws are like that. We aren’t aware of them until it may be too late to fix things.
The maple bowl pictured here has some kizu ( Japanese for flaws) that were not apparent while carving but became a nuisance while sanding. They are a result of insect activity in the maple before it was cut down, and were not obvious on the bowl blank.
While I could try to deepen the bowl beyond the kizu I might just wind up revealing more of them. The carver here has three courses of action: toss the bowl into the reject pile; finish the bowl with the imperfections hoping that the beauty of the bowl exceeds the flaws, or practice a bit of kintsugi. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of perfecting through imperfections. You’ll see many artfully repaired objects in Japan that we would simply throw away.
One place you’ll see kintsugi in this country is in turned burl bowls where imperfections are filled with silver or composite turquoise. I am thinking of doing something like that here.

The old carver that mentored me always pointed out that good carvings rose above flaws, and large reject piles were a sign of a poor carver.

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