Wabi Sabi

A unique and moving tale of being an adopted child.

Wabi Sabi

Kintsugi, meaning ‘golden joinery’, is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. The practice is related to the philosophy of Wabi Sabi, which glorifies imperfection. Instead of hiding a chip or crack, the application of a lacquer, dusted with powdered gold, creates something new and distinct, rendering the article even more beautiful.

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Remade Japanese tea cup – Wabi Sabi embodied


The broken doll of Julie’s childhood never truly recovers, glued together after she throws it onto the floor during a temper tantrum. Neither can ‘the sticking plaster of adoption’ heal the wound that Julie, and others like her, carry deep down within. The damaged child, undimmed by age or the passage of time.

‘The past locked away, those involved had been free to invent the present and the future. How I knew it, how deeply drilled such knowledge was into my consciousness. How thoroughly did I understand that their beliefs and subsequent whitewashing of the truth, embedded in society and the legal system representing it, fell short of humanity.7Legal Jargon

Lies and pretence are much more painful than the truth. Only by revealing its ugliness, however uncomfortable the process, can Julie begin to make sense of her past, and find a way to access her real identity. Thankfully, the truth is imbued with the golden threads of music that weave their way through her life, from the moments when, as a child, her adoptive dad plays her to sleep each night with piano pieces such as “Debussy’s ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’ with ‘de lin’ crossed out, replaced by “d’or”.

So I, Julie Wetherby, began to forgive Rose Keller for her intrusion into my life. I came to know her at last, was able to recognise her for who she was; could finally give her a name.

Unable to obliterate them, the discolourations still remain. There is beauty, after all, in im­per­fection.29Wabi Sabi

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