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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Day 9

To help fill my days during lockdown I’ve been watching ‘The Repair Shop’ on ABC iview - one of those shows I happened to catch one afternoon on ABC1 and found myself engrossed. The show follows a team of experts as they conserve and restore cherished family heirlooms that have seen better days: having been left in the addict for a decade too long, broken at the hands of the owner or for a small few, caused by wear and tear. The work carried out is generally based on expectations, varying between sympathetic conservation and complete restoration; generally furniture is always restored, paintings and ceramics are conserved and clocks sit somewhere in between, as long as there’s a tick-tock. Personally, I would prefer more conservation and historic research over sentimentality. The personalities on the show are subtle, but there are clear tensions: Kersten, ceramic conservator, is my favourite - she is brilliant and often very protective of her work and visually anxious when others hover around her desk; Will, carpenter, is highly amusing and adds warmth to the show - he’s cheeky and always smiling; Lucia is everything one expects for an painting conservator; Steve, the horologist, reminds me of a great teacher I had at high school - he has a warehouse of bits and bobs and is always willing to tackle other mechanisms; the toy restores, Amanda and Julie, are a hoot - they remind me of sitcom spinsters who have spent a touch too much time in each other’s company. There is also a plethora of guest specialists: a metal worker, glazier, upholster, etc. Watching them work makes me wonder why I never took up a vocation after school: the idea of working with one's hands and being a specialist or conservator sounds like a rewarding and interesting job. I would like to think I could have been an excellent horologist, or a paper/book conservator or maybe even a carpenter - when I was young I used to follow my dad around the shed trying my hand at building and mending things. Pictured is my first build, c. 5 years of age - I like to think it’s my first and only attempt at Egyptian Revival. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the knack as I’ve grown older.