Gina Barber, Repairer

“Fixing things makes people happy… And usually you get some really good cake.” – Gina Barber

Gina is a home dressmaker, weaver, knitter, maker, grower, composter, gardener, banker, business owner, teacher as well as a repairer with the Repair Café.

Gina has always thought of repairing as an extension of a lifelong hobby working with textiles. Gina started making things when she was five. Growing up after the war, clothes were hard to come by and everyone had to make do and mend. Things had to last. Fabric was firmer and most textiles were woven. Nowadays, many of our clothes are machine knitted, requiring new techniques and materials to fix them.  Before television, people knitted by hand which meant you could just unpick and re-knit things.

When repairing, Gina tries to help people learn about the care and repair of textiles. She also enjoys working with other textile repairers, as you can share hints, tips and borrow haberdashery. There is community in working with other people who share an interest in saving stuff and working with their hands. Repairers come from the same sort of place and share a general attitude to life.

Gina finds working with nature is really efficient, you don’t end up with things you don’t need, and you can minimise your use of resources. She has learnt how it is possible to exist without freezers and to grow all the vegetables you might ever need. Gina thinks more people could learn from the principles of nature. Like young children, be inquisitive and curious.  Ask why something is not working, ask how it could work better.  Keep trying, you could learn a lot by failing the first, or subsequent times, but it can lead to a better result in the end.