Claudia is a Repair Cafe textile repairer with a multitude of talents. Originally from Germany, she’s witnessed the success of repair cafes in Europe before volunteering here in Perth.
1. What skills do you have as a repairer? What kinds of things do you fix?
I have good sewing skills and needle work skills in general, as well as knitting, crochet, and embroidery. Additionally, in our family we like to fix things instead of throwing them away, even when the repair is not always perfect.
2. Where did you pick up your skills?
Mainly from family. Grandma and mum always mended clothes, darned socks, took apart adult clothes and made new clothes for the kids, knitted jumpers, the lot. Very typical post war in Europe skills. These skills were needed to survive. Though my needle work teacher wouldn’t believe her eyes if she could see me doing this. I was useless as a 10 year old – always a tomboy with dirty hands on the white linen embroidery. This would be hilarious to her.
3. Tell me about some of your experiences volunteering at repair cafe
Mainly I give advice or show the guests how to fix the item themselves. Here or there a quick use of the sewing machine to fix a ripped seam, or to reattach a piece. Sometimes if something is not really repairable I like discussing with the visitor and the other volunteers to find a compromise. Unfortunately sometimes the result is unrepairable so my experience is in helping the visitor to make a decision.
4. Why did you choose to volunteer for the repair cafe?
A friend of mine has been running one in Germany for many years and was telling me about the great experience and atmosphere. I like working with my hands in my spare time – in my main job, I deal with computers – and I like the appreciation we receive.
5. Tell us a bit more about your background
I am from Germany, am an IT professional, and have been living in Australia since 2003. I have a grown up son and a 10 year old son, and my husband is a master of trade. We all like working with our hands and creating and fixing things. Additionally I am part of a women creativity circle, where we try new techniques all the time and give each other tips – we knit, bead, paint, sew, do pottery… anything is possible.