When I arrived back from the Mend*rs symposium I blogged about the experience right away (see ‘Mending is Connecting’ post on the blog); I wanted to capture my immediate thoughts after hearing such interesting talks, and meeting such inspiring people. It’s been a few weeks since the conference, and for the Mend*rs blog tour I thought I’d blog about how my thoughts have changed since. At times I felt a little out of place at Mend*rs. My research has always been collaborative with menders and makers, rather than being a maker or mender myself. It was so great to meet people for whom making and mending is such an important part of their lives, research and practice. As a result, I really have begun to take mending more seriously in my everyday life and as part of that I’ve began to take notice of mending in my local area, Shepherd’s Bush, London. I thought I’d focus on mending and its place in here.
There are multiple forms of mending practice, taking place in Shepherd’s Bush. There are the established mending workshops that seem to have been here for decades, at least, like the clock and watch repairing services. There’s the more recent mobile and laptop repair shops. There are sewing machine repair shops, tailors and dry cleaners (offering alterations). The most recent and exciting spaces are Traid charity shop and Age UK upcycle Workshop. Traid offers sewing lessons and mending workshops it its Shepherd’s Bush premises; inside the shop it offers garments that have been remade or reworked to the latest fashion (I’ve noticed Traid is a big fan of adding peter pan collars to older tshirts and blouses). The newest addition to Shepherd’s Bush, and one of my favourites is the Age UK upcycle shop. It offers upcycled furniture at a reasonable price and excellent standard. It offers workshops to help customers learn how to upcycle their own furniture too. What’s interesting, to my research, about Age UK is the use of ‘knitting’ in its upcycling projects. From cosies placed on drawer handles, to knitted boarders on coffee tables and desks.
Shepherds Bush lives in the shadow of Westfields shopping centre (literally, the glare of ‘House of Frazer’ signage shines directly into my flat!) It’s been a while since I stepped into Westfield and bought something new actually. Since menders I really have been mending connections with my ‘things’ and I’m more aware of mending spaces in my local area. Shepherd’s Bush, it turns out, is a hub of mending and repairing practices, if you look closely. Mending cultures that are both old and new. I’m sure the same can be said for many reader’s local areas, and maybe it’s important to discover or re-discover these, if we haven’t already.
The blog tour continues, or if you missed the previous sites, click on the links below to have a look-see.