The Fixer’ Collective started last fall as workshop in a year-long exhibition called “Mend” at the Proteus Gowanus Gallery in Brooklyn. When the exhibition ended in June, the collective continued, meeting every Thursday evening at the gallery. It’s an adhoc community group with a simple premise: you bring broken objects to fix (or to get help fixing), or come empty-handed and game to help other fix their stuff. No experience is required because, it seems, The Fixer’s Collective just likes meeting with each other and figuring out fixes in the moment. They call it “improvisational mending and fixing.
When you think about it, a lot of mending is improvisational: it means figuring out a unique solution suited for the uniquely broken item at hand. And there’s no reason why any group of people couldn’t start their own Fixer’s Collective.
Now the gallery is featuring The Umbrella Project, a sort of sub-category. Broken umbrellas found on the street are fixed or their fabric is stripped off to be used to make tote bags. You can buy mended “Everlasting Umbrellas” for $15 at the gallery; they come with a lifetime warranty (guaranteed for the life of the Collective).
Like Platform 21’s Repair Manifesto, The Fixer Collective is another dynamic community that’s come together around fixing things. Here’s The Fixer’s Collective beautiful Mission Statement (the bold face is mine):
The Fixers Collective is a social experiment in improvisational fixing and mending. Our goal is to increase material literacy in our community by fostering an ethic of creative caring toward the objects in our lives. The Fixers Collective seeks to displace cultural patterns that alienate us from our things, by collectively learning the skills and patience necessary to care for them. Intentionally aligning itself with forces generated in reaction to the current economic crisis, the Fixers Collective promotes a counter-ethos that values functionality, simplicity, and ingenuity and that respects age, persistence and adequacy. The Collective also encourages participants to take liberties with designated forms and purposes, resulting in mended objects that may exist both as art and within a more limited, utilitarian context.
BTW: Totes offers a Lifetime Warranty on their a number of their umbrellas. Just send the umbrella back with the little form that comes with it (or check Warranty Information on their website) and they’ll send you a new one, no questions asked. (Although it might seem like a pricey umbrella, for the price of one, you can get a new one whenever something goes wrong – just don’t lose it. I especially like Totes Titanium Auto-Open/Close Umbrella which has a big span but folds small.) I wonder what do they do with the broken ones? I’m hoping they use the good parts in other umbrellas…
Related post: Repair Manifesto is a Force!