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Journal - Interviews, Profiles, Stories

Journal: Emma Grace

The rise of creative repair has been a fast and exciting one.

It’s hard to say where it came from exactly; I guess it’s just one of those collective ideas of awesomeness that seem to pop up simultaneously all around the world.

But it’s clearly exploded in a big way and if you’re not privy to this creative movement, let me take you on a bit of a tour…

In 2009 a group called Platform 21 created ‘The Repair Manifesto’ for an interactive exhibition they curated focused on creative repairs. This manifesto included such gems as “Repaired things are unique. Even fakes become originals when you repair them.” And my favourite; “Repairing is not anti-consumption. It is anti- needlessly throwing things away.” Right on!

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Designers associated with this group came up with new innovations such as Heleen Klopper’s technique for repairing wool sweaters, Lotte Dekker’s technique for repairing ceramics, and the Lego wall repairs by Jan Vormann.

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Cardigan repaired with Wool Filler by Heleen Klopper (Photograph: Mandy Pieper)

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Tectonic Repair by Lotte Dekker

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Lego wall repairs by Jan Vormann (Photo: Johannes Abeling)
Images: Platform 21

Clearly some of these ‘repairs’ are more practical than others, but that’s part of what I love about creative repair, that in addition to simply reinstating functionality, it adds dynamism to what was once destined for landfill and proudly proclaims, “I’ve been born again!”.

It’s also a fabulous loop-hole. As we all know (and somehow accept?!), many technological items are designed to stop working within a certain period of time (this is called Planned Obsolescence). To learn how to fix items such as these is to reclaim the freedom and power to be a master of technology, rather than its slave. Thus giving you the autonomy to spend your money on things of higher cultural value and significance, such as contemporary jewellery.

Last year I ran a project called The Repair Workshops. Ten artists, makers, tech-heads and designers teamed up to fix and re-create people’s trash into restored and re-imagined works of art. The project was a huge success and it brought to light a number of other repair initiatives from around Melbourne, including HackerSpace Melbourne the Bike Shed at Ceres and FixIT! Not to mention the remarkable amount of people (mostly old men it seems) doing outstanding repairs in the privacy of their own sheds!

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Technicians hard at work at The Repair Workshops

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A repaired Piñata by Lizzy Sampson