Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Over the weekend we spent a blissful weekend on Nantucket—my husband’s first time visiting the island—thanks to the generosity of the White Elephant Elephant Hotel, Hy-Line Cruises, Lola 41, and a handful of shops. I will post more about the weekend later this week, but today I want to introduce you to Nantucket artist Peter Van Dingstee, proprietor of Pete’s Fish Tales on Old South Wharf.
Peter Van Dingstee studied the Japanese artform called gyotaku which entails creating prints on rice paper using actual fish. First practiced in the early 19th century, gyotaku allowed commercial fishermen to accurately measuring and record their catch. (“Gyo” means to “fish” and “taku” means “stone rubbing” in Japanese.)
Van Dingstee talked to us about the process, which is not as simple as grabbing a fish, inking it up, and slapping it down on the paper. The fish gets a full body treatment so that its oils don’t wind up on the paper, which would make for some seriously smelly artwork.
Here’s a sampling of Van Dingstee’s Japanese-style fish print artwork:
Pete’s Fresh Fish Prints, 17 Old South Wharf, Nantucket.