Week 5: Repairing and Fixing

What a lovely, thoughtful week, with time spent seeing interesting things and talking about them afterwards with inspiring people – such simple pleasures, and so much better than shopping my friends! I spent this week thinking about mending – well, it’s one tiny step closer to actually attacking the huge pile of clothes in the corner of my front room. Isn’t it?

On Tuesday I attended a talk at Camberwell by London Metropolitan's Professor Daniel Charney, (he of Fixperts fame). Brave Fixed World positioned mending as a key driver for social and cultural change. Mending, he says, is a form of resistance. He argues that we should as designers look for systemic mending approaches: help one, help many. He asked us to think as makers, as designers, about ‘What is worth making? What is it we are fixing? Which side will you be on?’

It was great to also be reminded of the V&A’s Power of Making exhibition; and the ‘make space’ in the museum, with the Tinker Table by El Ultimo Grito. Listening to Daniel’s talk before we viewed the exhibition The Department of Repair put us into the mindset of repair as a physical, political and social act. It was very interesting to hear him talk about the mindset of fixers, and the maker types or tribes he has identified and mapped. The activist menders of the 70’s were different to today's menders mainly because of the technology they now utilise. It takes us to a future landscape where places for fixing can be around every corner, with designers and makers giving ‘access, engagement, experience, and confidence’ to all members of the community.

Bridget Harvey

Bridget Harvey

 

In the exhibition space we were challenged to think more about Values vs Value. The Department of Repair is co-curated by Bridget Harveyone of my Chelsea BA graduates who is now a PhD researcher with us at TED. To say I find her work inspiring is a bit of an understatement really...

Bridget occupies a fluid space between design, art and craft. She uses traditional and new techniques and work with natural and found materials. She creates contemporary craft objects in small quantities and as one-off pieces. She pushes materials, forms and joins, and is inspired by costume and narrative. Her work has been described as exploring ‘themes of carnival, folk art and tribal display with a touch of Blackpool thrown in.’

Blackpool in a profile is hard to resist, don't you think? My favorite pieces brought into the space by Bridget and her fellow curators were: the mended bike wheels by SeaBass Cycles (really - was it a repair or was it like, NEW?!); the plate fixed by boiling it in milk for an hour (Bridget Harvey); the film of the ship being taken apart, over two years (Tim Mitchell). Not to mention the darned jumper by  Tom van Deijnen (tomofholland); the work-in-progress upholstered chair (Second Sitters) and the crazy broken records (Yuri Suzuki). Too many good things - see it for yourself before 20th February 2015. 

Yuri Suzuki

Yuri Suzuki

SeaBass Cycles

SeaBass Cycles


After the Department of Repair I popped in to see The Expanded Designer at Wilson Road, another private view, this time of work exploring the future role of the graphic/communication designer. Some great publications were produced there by student teams; but the real bonus of the evening was bumping into the delicious Orsola de Castro (she of From Somewhere fame). I only ever see her at big events - London, Hong Kong, Glasgow. She is a jet-setting upcycler extraordinaire; an inspirational maker-mender if ever I met one! (Now, I wonder if I could tempt her over to W4 for some lunch and commandeer her to help with that large pile of mending in the corner of my front room…)

Ms Lovely de Castro...

Ms Lovely de Castro...