What kind of items do you fix?
Mostly fine jewellery, chain repair, small decorative objects and eyeglasses but I have also replaced an enormous number of watch batteries!
When did you first start volunteering with Repair Café Toronto?
My first Repair Café was January 2016.
What is your day job?
I’m a professor in the Material Art & Design program at OCAD University.
What is your favourite location?
The Toronto Reference Library is my favourite. The jewellers are usually situated in front of the big windows so there is lots of light and space. We also get a lot of “regulars” coming to this location and the traffic is brisk. All the venues have their charms and I’ve seen the insides of some interesting libraries, churches and community centres that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“We don’t fix Cats, Cars or Broken Hearts.” National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis Tenn.
Why did you start getting interested in repairing things?
I’ve been interested in these skills for a long time. I used to teach a jewellery repair class at George Brown College in the 1990s. As the owner of an old house I have learned all sorts of repair skills beyond fixing jewellery.
How did you learn your skills?
I was originally trained as a goldsmith and I had to learn how to repair jewellery for my own customers. If you are a maker, you have the skills to repair what you have made. I have learned a lot from videos on the internet, there is a repair video for almost everything. They have kept my used washing machine going for over a decade.
What does it mean to you to volunteer at Repair Café Toronto?
I really enjoy the social interaction between the fixers, volunteers and clients. As a teacher, I am interested in passing on useful skills, so having apprentice fixers is a satisfying aspect. I also appreciate having to “think on my feet” when presented with a repair problem. It often leads to inventive solutions and keeps my aging brain sharp.
What is the most memorable item you have fixed?
My 100+ year old house, the repair is ongoing.
Why should people get involved with Repair Café Toronto?
It’s a great opportunity to learn something, teach something, fix something or get something fixed, all in the company of some exceptionally skilled and charming individuals…with coffee and cake no less! A circular economy with snacks. What more could you ask for?
Where you see Repair Café Toronto in five years?
I see more chapters emerging, we started one at OCADU that is thriving and engaging our university community. I hope to see Repair Cafés pop up everywhere and become one of the necessities of life. The world needs repair.