Tuesday 10 June 2014

Sugru makes it better

Sugru has been on the periphery on my view for a few years now, but my pal Sarah sent me a picture of a pair of walking boots whose wear-rip had been fixed with bright red sugru. She said "this made me think of you"; it made me think of my wear-ripped walking boots. Since 2004 when I walked 800km across Spain in the same pair of boots, I've effectively had one pair of shoes at a time. My current pair are Boots III.  The boots Sarah showed me also reminded me of kintsugi 金継ぎ because they are the very opposite of can't-see-the-join. Kintsugi is the fine art of repairing beloved pottery in a way that adds aesthetic value rather than trying to pretend the break never happened. I think the shared syllable in kintsugi and sugru has a certain added-value resonance because sugru enhances and repairs material objects without shame.

Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh the inventor of this wonder-glop is clearly comfortable in the Irish language; otherwise, she'd cull all the superfluous letters and anglicise her last name to Delahunty. She spent a long time not naming her product because nothing seemed right until it came to her while whizzing down-hill on her bike: Sugru is inspiring by súgradh the Irish for play or game. That has the ring of truth for me: many-and-many of my insights and solutions (well, two of them) have come to me while riding my bike through traffic. It also seems that Dullchanty hails from the borrrder between Tipperary and King's County which is where my people were planted - so it's likely we have gene-in-common.

JniD hails from Kilkenny, just down the road from our farrrm, and grew up on a farm herself where fixit was always preferred to replace it. I've always been a bodger: making a functional but uncomfortable arm-chair out of a tea-chest; building compost heaps and raised beds from corrugated-plastic election posters; using Bonne-maman jam-jars as tumblers; sheep-proofing a rusted gate with self-tapping screws, duct-tape and ash-branches. But enough of me, I haven't half the gumption and get-up-and-go of this woman. Having created an arm-chair in 1974 I spent a lot of time sitting in it: "Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits". JniD worried at her creation for years, thinking about it, talking about it, recruiting people who could inch her project forward.

It's interesting that JniD read Fine Arts in college and presumably parked whatever science she had in school, but that didn't prevent her from thinking creatively about the material world. Actually my experience from a life-time in science is that many scientists today are completely adrift from the material world and living almost exclusively in their own heads. The other wonderful thing about about Sugru and JniD is that it is a product specifically created by her to empower people to fix things for themselves rather than throwing up their hands and saying - this piece of modern kit is beyond me - I must throw it away and buy this year's model.  Sugru is thus bad for the growth economy but excellent for social capital.

Buy some now! I lashed out €16 (+€2.72 p&p) for eight (8!) x  5g blobs of fixit - 4 white and 4 black. But you can buy a red blue yellow black and white 8-pack or, if you only have but one pair of boots to fix, 3 x 5g for €9.   It keeps for months and something else is sure to go phut before the Sugru sell-by date. I used 2 of them on Sunday to fill the holes in the uppers and soles of my boots AND reattached the plastic handle on a pair of kitchen scissors that got dropped on the floor last week AND matched a little nose-cushion for a pair of glasses.  I'll let you know how they all fare.  Since then we've had two lots of visitors, and have presented each with some Sugru to take back to a father who fixes.  Like a virus she propagates.
Disclaimer: The Blob has not received any payment or
honorarium for shamelessly promoting this product.

1 comment:

  1. wow! amazing article about sugru moldable glue thanks for sharing this sugru post.