The Fixers' Collective: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

The Fixers' Collective: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It!

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Cambria Bold
Oct 8, 2009

The Fixers' Collective in the Proteus Gowanus gallery in Brooklyn is an art project turned community group that, well, fixes things. The collective began as part of a yearlong exhibition called "Mend" and has since turned into a weekly Thursday night meeting that has a very simple objective: bring in your broken objects to be fixed, or don't bring anything but help fix other people's broken objects. Simple as that!

What a great idea. I'm not very handy myself, and it would be most helpful to have a community to help pick up the broken pieces of my non-handy life.

(Side point illustrating my non-handiness: I was completely flummoxed as to how to put together the rolling shelf that is now underneath my desk in our office, a fact which I told Maxwell and which he didn't quite believe. He politely offered to help me put it together and then realized the depth of my cluelessness when he asked for the runners, and I handed him the cart wheels. Wheels...run, don't they?)

Anyway, back to the Fixers' Collective! A profile in The New York Times gave a little insight into the collective and its "improvisational mending." When the original exhibition ended in June, the Fixers simply kept meeting, bringing in both master or amateur fixers:

Master fixers and regulars emerged, like John Murphy, a filmmaker, who arrives each Thursday with a black pouch filled with tiny tantalizing tools, including a mini soldering iron that resembles a baby rocket ship. Last week, he appeared at a crucial moment: Mr. Mahfouda [the de facto leader of the Collective] had removed the guts of Ms. Jacob's [a newcomer] clock, but was stymied. "John's handling the clock," he announced, visibly relieved."

The Collective has also spawned the Umbrella Project, where broken umbrellas are collected from the street and either fixed or stripped of their fabric, which is then turned into tote bags. Those mended umbrellas are then sold for $15 and come with a warranty that guarantees them for the life of the Fixers' Collective.

We think it'd be possible to start up something similar in one's own neighborhood, don't you think?

Read the whole article at The New York Times.

Image: Richard Perry/The New York Times

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