Tea Cup: A Study in Brokenness

The teacup is yellowed and fragile, and when I go looking for a reference, I discover I possess too many heirlooms full of fine fractures. Some of the most beautiful things in this home are marked with imperfections.

It was well after I painted the break and printed the first round for the shop that an old friend asked me if I was familiar with kintsugi. She told me about the way craftsman in fifteenth century Japan repaired broken wares with fine gold powder, highlighting the quality of the repair work and the cost of redeeming something so valuable. It’s worth increased because of the craftsmanship of the repair.

In kintsugi, the break becomes more obvious, but the repair is the object of admiration. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I considered going back and adding a bit of gold, or painting a new piece, highlighting the brokenness redeemed. But this series is about the broken places, the unfinished stories, the places we are still waiting for redemption, holding out hope.

One day I’ll paint a picture with golden redemption, but for now I hang the teacup in the kitchen and whisper a prayer for all the still broken places.


You can find this print, and a nest full of broken bits, over at the Be Small Studios Etsy Shop.

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  1. Beautiful art, Annie. Love it.

  2. I was the fortunate recipient of this print at Allume. Thank you so much! It belongs in our home more than you know.

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