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The umbrella recovery project

What would society look like if we assigned a central role to repair? And what happens if we see repair as more than a quick fix?

Reflections on society through an explorative workshop with artist Julia Mandle in which broken umbrellas are studied, repaired and hacked. With talks by Fabienne Rachmadiev (UvA) and dr. Yngvar Steinholt (Tromso University).

Julia Mandle is an American born artist, formerly based in NYC now living and working in Amsterdam. For several years, she has been preoccupied by umbrellas. Not the perky, upright kind but those found scattered around, left behind in the corners of various cities. A broken umbrella, in its contorted form, holds the shape of the impact with the weather. It reflects the impact. It’s shape is a souvenier, a trace of the moment in material. And it is the material trace of this impact (dramatic and humorous) that intrigues Mandle. She collects them and looks at them. She takes photographs when found and translates them into charcoal drawings. But what Mandle is bothered by is the disposable nature of such an essential tool as an umbrella. 

In the Fall of 2016 by chance, she discovered in one of the oldest passages (Passage de l’Ancre Royale”) in Paris, an umbrella repair shop called “Pep’s.” The man operating the business proudly showed her his tools for repairing umbrellas, an art barely practiced or offered anymore in cities. Mandle has made a plan to return to his workshop and study the craftsmanship and to bring that knowledge into her exploration of found, broken umbrellas in the workshop and presentations in Amsterdam. 

The umbrella recovery project will enhance an open workshop setting where we will practice the art of repairing an umbrella and use the crafts’ tools to not only repair umbrellas in the standard way but to open that up to limitless sculptural possibilities. 

Participants of different practices are welcomed to this workshop. You do not need to be handy. We only ask for your curiosity and imagination. 

For more info and to sign up, send us a message.


Date: Friday October 6
Time: 10:00 – 14:00
Cost: Free
Spring House, De Ruyterkade 128, Amsterdam

Photo by: Julia Mandle