Video: At the Repair Café, neighbors squeeze more life out of stuff

A shiny heirloom toaster that wasn’t toasting on one side, an extension cord that got snipped, a Thomas the Tank engine that had lost its pizzazz… these were just some of the items brought to the Repair Café on Saturday — an event that sees local volunteers put their DIY skills to good use for the community.

As the Repair Café put it on its flyer, “some folks bring broken things, others bring know-how and tools, and yet others bring hospitality, and everyone brings goodwill and a zeal for fixing.” The event, which Berkeleyside flagged up on its It List Thursday, was hosted by Culture of Repair and Transition Berkeley, and co-sponsored by the Berkeley Ecology Center and City Councilwoman Sophie Hahn,

Around 30 fixers had signed up to attend the café, which was held at the Historic Fellowship Hall on Cedar Street in North Berkeley, and there were also tutorials on offer, a DIY table and coffee and bagels for participants to share.

“It’s about valuing the things we have, and taking care of them,” said the Repair Café’s Vita Wells, an artist known for her work with old books. “Repair seems to appeal to a fundamental sense of what’s right.”


This weekend’s event was preceded by two similar Fix-It clinics in Berkeley earlier in the year. There are currently no future cafés on the calendar, but, not least given their popularity, the plan is to roll out more. Dates and locations will be posted on the Culture of Repair website.
Watch our short video story of Saturday’s Repair Café, top.