Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2022
Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022
Creative Director: KVaughn
Hair & Makeup: Michael Connor
Photography Assistant: Anthony Colagreco
Things happen all the time, life would sure be boring if that wasn’t the case. And because life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, and is often completely unfair, sometimes those things that happen are awful. We get knocked down, made to feel worthless, hopeless. Beaten down by situations, other people’s cruelty, our own self-doubt and criticism. Cracked. Broken, irreparably shattered.
If you have never seen a piece of Japanese kintsugi pottery, I urge you to stop reading and Google it; I’ll wait. Now that you’ve seen it, you’re probably wondering why I asked. Well, I find it beautiful, both as visual art and as a concept. The first time I ever saw it, I was awestruck.
The art of kintsugi takes bowls or other fine pottery pieces whose beauty was marred by chips, cracks, and breaks and uses precious metals to make them whole again. They become more valuable, more unique, in the mending than they were originally. Not viewed as less for the imperfection of being broken; but more because someone carefully and skillfully took the time to fix each and every crack.
I can’t help but draw the parallel between this art form, myself, and the literally millions of other people who have faced down challenges and made it through, alive but not unscathed. We may not be alone in our experiences, but each of us is unique. The physical, mental and emotional pains we endure, as well as the scars those pains leave behind are ours. No two are exactly alike.
What if we stopped hiding our scars and started to view them as what make us more? Not for simply having received them, but for the precious time, energy and effort we put into our healing. That is the art form. That is the gold, the silver, the platinum that brings all the shattered pieces back together and binds them together stronger than before. While the body may heal itself physically when injured without any conscious effort on our part, true healing and recovery is a choice. It is a process; an ongoing one. We have to care enough about ourselves to see and address all of our breaks, the old and the new.
We have to let go of the old unbroken versions of ourselves and those who caused the damage. It is possible to forgive, but not forget. To move on, but remember. To be broken but not worthless. We are kintsugi; beautifully broken, remade stronger, perfect in our imperfection.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits for over the last 20 years, currently with a food-related Philadelphia nonprofit. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then she’s worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in -and on the covers of- multiple print and digital publications. Over the years she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for local Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.
In addition to her food insecurity-related work, she has also volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even on the events team of a local brewery, pre-pandemic.
You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.