Kintsugi Mama Project

kintsugi: The word Kintsugi comes from the Japanese Kin (gold) and Tsugi (join), and therefore literally means: join with gold. The art of Kintsugi is called Kintsukuroi, meaning “mending with gold”.

Stretch marks, also known as striae (/ˈstraɪiː/) are a form of scarring on the skin with an off-color hue. Over time they may diminish, but will not disappear completely. Striae are caused by tearing of the dermis during periods of rapid growth of the body, such as during puberty or pregnancy, in which they usually form during the last trimester. Usually on the stomach, these striae also commonly occur on the breasts, thighs, hips, lower back, and buttocks. Pregnancy-related striae are known as striae gravidarum.[3] 

Kintsugi and stretch marks. Nothing in common apparently, but in actual fact, they have everything to do with one another. In this project, very close to my heart, I am exploring the BEAUTY (yes, beauty!) of the “scarred” female body. This body where the skin stretches, breaks, and re-heals itself all while bringing a new life to this world – is an incredible feat of mother nature, and yet, somehow, we do not tend to look upon those stretch marks with love, but with distaste, hate even, because they are imperfections.

But what if we saw those scars not as imperfections, but as stories? What if we took them to be what they are – the physical marks of our body’s story – of creating life, of nurturing it, and caring for it. And what if, instead of hiding those “imperfections” we celebrated them, repaired them with gold, the most precious element of them all? What if we took the time to see how glorious they truly are? Would we see ourselves differently? Would we revel in the power of womanhood?

In this project, I am painting stretch marks in gold, following the art of kintsugi, which is inextricably linked to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi: a worldview centred on the acceptance of transience, imperfection and the beauty found in simplicity. Wabi-sabi is also an appreciation of both natural objects and the forces of nature that remind us that nothing stays the same forever.

I hope you will join me as I explore the beauty of womanhood, and the power of the female body.

You can support the Kintsugi Mama Project by following along on our instagram: @kintsugimamaproject, and sharing the blog posts and images with family and friends! And if you would like to participate as a model, please get in touch (at the moment UK – based, but hopefully we will expand soon!)