Monday, August 1, 2011

Repair Workshops - The Wrap-up (or is it...?)

You may think by now that I sometimes tend toward over-exaggeration? Perhaps even embellishment of the facts... But please trust me - if ever I have said true words, these are them.

No one, in those first crazy and heady days of our collection/installation/workshop/love-in could have seen or predicted the way that it would take off, explode, and thrive in that dark and sometimes dank basement at the bottom of Bourke Street.

Over the course of only six (intense) days half a lifetime of artistic endeavour, electronic wizardry, repair magic, object re-imagining, and (if I am not mistaken) the bending of space and time all took place.  Friendships and collaborations were begun, knowledge and cheese toasties were equally appreciated and eagerly devoured.

It was a truly magical experience to be a part of, everyone felt it, and everyone wanted to prolong the experience. So, when the repeated question of whether they would be organising any further workshops penetrated the euphoric fug enveloping the organisers, it was decided that the Repair workshops will live on – albeit in a new form. There is no set shape or timetable as yet, but rest assured, if you were one of the many enthusiastic fans, or would like to be involved in a grass roots repair and learning workshop/club love-in, born from a spirit of collaboration and potential, please watch this space - we will soon be emerging from the post festival coma with a new, exciting and reborn form of the Repair Workshops that everyone can get involved in!

So, a slightly teary farewell cheer for the good ship Repair and all who sailed in her!!

[See you all on the flip-side.]

By Taya Brendle

The Repair Workshops. What an amazing week we have had!!

Photos by the super talented Ferando De Sousa 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Full Steam Ahead – The joys of an opening night!

Although there were a few early nerves showing, the general feeling amongst organisers and repairers prior to doors opening was that of excitement and enthusiasm tinged with pride for what had been achieved over the three days of collaboration.

Dylan chats to Murray about the works

The amazing space room by Lizzy and Gregory (with Tim having a little relax)

Pat (who came in and helped out) chating with Alice Blackwood from DQ mag

It really was all hands on deck putting the final flourishes on the gallery spaces, pricing the ‘buy it now’ items, tagging the silent auction items, testing the electrical equipment, hanging the lamps and lights, and (most importantly) setting up the bar...
The amazing Dan from ThunderRoad Beer Co (Brewed in Brunswick and re-usable bottles!)
There was no real chance to appreciate the calm before the storm - we were lucky to have any time to throw a bit of lipstick on before the guests started arriving... but luckily all attendees were well-behaved and good-looking people with deep pockets! 
Leyla pointing out the amazing repaires in her introduction speech
Speeches were short and heartfelt, the auction was successful and the winning bidders (including myself!) nabbed some great bargains. As an added bonus all purchases came with a free warm  inner glow due to the fact that all money raised is going to Environment Victoria and will be used to fund more great initiatives like this one!

Enjoying the ambience!
A great night was had by all, and many new friendships, connections, and collaborations were born, which is a fantastic and exciting side-effect of this awesome initiative in collaborative working. 
Tim the auctioneer from Barry Plant, Emma introducing the pieces and Matt displaying them!
There are still two days left here at Donkey Wheel House for the Repair Workshops, so if you haven’t already you really should come and check it out.  
The Eagle came to life!

Will and the tree
Guest Blogger - Taya Brendle
Photos by the super talented Ferando De Sousa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There are definitely both positive and negative aspects to being an ‘insider’ at the Repair Workshops...

The first (of many) positives, is the amazingly diverse, enthusiastic and creative bunch of artistic collaborators who have taken the idea and raced away with it at the speed of light. Not often does one get the chance to observe in one place, and with a single aim, such a super-intelligent and open-hearted group of people. They all have the same slightly crazed gleam apparent in their eyes, and there is much racing around searching for the one particular piece to finish off an artwork or slot into place in a repair job. You do see the occasional pout when an item thought to be broken beyond repair, and therefore fair game for an artistic reimagining, is found to be repairable... But on the whole, everyone is playing very nicely together (even the boys in the menagerie), with constant cries of “here! I found that screw/cord/magnet/plastic cucumber etc ... you need, it’s over here!” or “this would be perfect for your chair/diorama/tree/lamp/crying fish portrait...

Another positive is being able to have an early and thorough sticky-beak at all the items on offer. I have already got my eye on an exquisite set of ‘botanically enhanced’ cutlery by Lizzy, a tree from the magical menagerie... some gold lamé covered chairs, and a torch-cum-speaker for my i-pod... You will need to get in quick to beat me...

And the downsides? Well there’s only one really - the fact that I have only been able to hang out at the workshop part-time so far... It is quite an addictive world down here, and all I want to do is sit and soak up the atmosphere. I’ve already learnt so much (thanks Yvette and Jason for the lesson in how electricity actually works!).

So yes, it may be true that the space currently looks like organised chaos... but the camaraderie, as well as the remarkable art/design/repair work that is happening in this magical basement is really a wonder to behold! We can’t wait until tomorrow night when you all get to come and see, touch, and hopefully purchase some of these delightfully enchanting reimagined objects for yourselves.

So if you haven’t already RSVP’d to the opening (or the repair workshops on Saturday and Sunday) you can click this link and do it right now! Too easy.

See you all underground!!

P.S. The photography above (except for the crappy close-up of the torch/speaker) is courtesy of our amazing photographer Fernando De Sousa - star! 

Guest blogger – Taya Brendle

Day one - The Collaboration Round-up

Dear fans of repair and reimagination,

Welcome to your palace of dreams! This virtual alladins cave of magical and mysterious objects has truly captivated all eight collaborators, and visitors alike in the almost two days of habitation here at Donkey Wheel House.

As a venue, this place holds all the charm of that imaginary place that you were convinced existed in your childhood, the place where your old  and discarded playthings went to be 'fixed'... But this place is real, and the amazing work that we have already witnessed here is truly inspiring and rather exciting.
So, here's a small taste of what we have been up to so far...


Photo’s by Fernando De Sousa

As Lizzy says, "it's a vortex in here". She means it fondly I'm sure...

Stay tuned, much much more to come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lets hear it for The Repair Workshop's RED team!

L-R Emma Grace, Leyla Arcaroglu, Lizzy Sampson

Lizzy Sampson is an artist who works across a number of disciplines including paper collage and installation. Within her practice, she uses found, second hand or reclaimed materials and avoids buying anything 'new'. She incorporates this this philosophy in both her art practice and everyday life. Lizzy is currently studying a Master of Fine Art at RMIT, and among other things, is researching the practice of storage and the allocation of space for objects over people. She has worked in the community arts sector for a number of years, and enjoys collaborating with others on creative projects. You can see Lizzy's paper works on display at the Northcote Town Hall Glass Gallery throughout August and September. She also has a  pop-up project at Bus gallery (also located at Donkey Wheel House) planned for August the 3rd, 6-9pm - busy lady!

After completing his Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, Gregory Crocetti then went on to complete an Honours and Doctorate researching the population dynamics of bacteria involved in nutrient removal in sewage treatment plants. Afterwards, Gregory was awarded a short fellowship to research microorganisms involved in the conversion of farm waste to methane at Lund University, as part of a renewable energy program in Sweden. Since this time Gregory has moved away from research to teach science through CSIRO Education in Melbourne. He also works in an art-science collaborative (Scale Free Network) to deliver Microscope Drawing workshops.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Introducing Repair Team yellow Will and Tim (they want to make a menagerie!)

Our young guns Tim and Will come to us with some amazing ideas for repair – we were so impressed by their creative and fun ideas that we added an extra pair to the project! 

Tim is 24 and currently in his final year of Industrial Design at RMIT and has recently returned from a semester in Turkey. He has an interest in sustainable and social design and was previously involved in Craft Victoria's online Whitebox exhibition (2010). He is interested in finding value in what other's see as useless – he has also been instrumental in collecting stuff for repair from the Brotherhood. 

Will is a recent graduate of the Industrial Design program at RMIT – but sees himself as quite a technically minded person. He is a self claimed ‘mad-scientist’ and a believer in design as a force for good change in the world, across all levels of development and all industries. He is passionate about changing the way consumers behave towards more sustainable living and yes he and Tim are planning on turning some of the unrepairable items into animals for a petting zoo! 

This is a must see!!