Free access to Sarah A. Lichtman conversation with Hella Jongerius

For a period of six months, the conversation between Sarah A. Lichtman and Dutch designer Hella Jongerius will be available to readers for free from the following link:

Inlcuded in the special issue of The Journal of Modern Craft 8(2) from last year – ‘Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today’ – the conversation covers Jongerius’s design education, her thoughts on the definition of craft and the relationship with her many clients, including the UN who recently commissioned her to design the interior of the Delegates’ Lounge in their New York headquarters.

Included in the team who helped Jongerius with the Delegates’ Lounge is fellow Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom, who is interviewed for our Statement of Practice feature in The Journal of Modern Craft 9(1).

The craft of Kintsugi

In the next edition of The Journal of Modern Craft (9.1), Guy Keulemans provides a succint overview of the history and practice of the Japanese craft kintsugi, the art of repairing broken ceramics with urushi laquer and gold or silver. Alongside a thorough investigation of the craft’s relationship to Japanese culture, Keulemans provides some examples from contemporary art and design practice which foreground the idea of ‘transformative repair’ that is inherent to kintsugi-craft.

As a sort of teaser to Keulemans’ article, I wanted to draw the reader’s attention to the work of Japanese artist Aono Fumiaki currently on show at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2016 in London.

Aono Kumiaki, Mending, Restoration: Restoration of of Cassette Tapes Collected in Yuriage, Miyagi, Japan, After The Great East Japan Eartquake and Tsunami, 2012-13.

In a series of sculptures, Fumiaki brings together broken objects picked up in the Yuriage and Miyagi region of Japan, after the devastating 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that led to the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The found objects Fumiaki has collected as the foundation of his work include a corner of a tape cassette or VCR, a modest tile, a scrap of a school exercise book, and piles damaged books. But he does not simply draw the viewer’s attention to these provocative objects by presenting them in the mode of Marcel Duchamp’s unassisted readymades. Instead, the damaged object is mounted on wood and is ‘restored’ by merging the fragment with a replica of its lost whole, carved from wood and then painted. The final object can be considered an example of ‘transformative repair,’ but unlike kintsugi that celebrates the moment of destruction, Fukiami’s small scupltures are haunting, the replica stretching the original form of the found object, with the initially detailed reconstruction by the join between original and copy fading to wooden whiteness (see above).

Fumiaki’s salvage operation brings to mind Ai WeiWei’s monumental Straight (2008-12) that was exhibited in the Royal Academy’s main galleries just six months ago: construction steels that were picked up by Ai from buildings (including schools) that fell in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and then straightened in a provocative and moving gesture of memorialisation to the many school children’s lives that were lost.

In these instances, and in the widespread practice of kintsugi, we see how embroilment with material damage and repair can provide a palpable sense of healing to the trauma of natural and human disasters to which many populations are subject.

Journal of Modern Craft 8.3

Editorial Introduction (full text available)


Burnishing History: The Legacies of Maria Martinez and Nesta Nala in Dialogue: Part I: An Historian’s Perspective by Elizabeth Perrill

Burnishing History: The Legacies of Maria Martinez and Nesta Nala in Dialogue: Part II: An Artist’s Conversation by Barbara Gonzales, Jabulile Nala, Thembile Nala, Elizabeth Perrill (editor/facilitator), Nozipho Zulu (translator/faciliator), Nomusa Mabaso (transcription)

Needlepoint for Men: Craft and Masculinity in Postwar America by Joseph McBrinn

Selling Pictorialist Photography as Craft: Alice Austin’s Artistic Production and Role in the Boston’s Society of Arts and Crafts between 1900 and 1933 by Caroline M. Riley


Peripatetic Making: a borrowed space, time continuum by Phoebe Cummings


Commentary by Ewan Clayton

Visiting Edward Johnston by Margaret Alexander


Beadwork, Art and the Body: Dilo Tse Dints/Abundance reviewed by Hlonipha Mokoena

WEGNER – Just One Good Chair reviewed by Joakim Borda-Pedreira

All the World’s Futures: The Venice Biennale 2015 reviewed by Glenn Adamson


Craft, Community and the Material Culture of Place and Politics, 19th – 20th Century reviewed by Emma Ferry

Intimate Collaborations: Kandinsky & Munter, Arp & Taueber reviewed by Andrea Feeser