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Cracked and scarred, the restored teapot, milk pan, or copper luster cup can be
more beautiful than in its original wholeness.
“I think there is, or at least was, some-
thing universal and human about wanting to
take care of and save our possessions,” says
Andrew Spindler, who sells make-do pieces
at his gallery, Andrew Spindler Antiques &
Design in Essex, Massachusetts. “The mate-
rials chosen for the repair, the quality of the
repair itself — skillful, artful, or quirky — and
the beauty of the original form — luxurious
or humble — provide wit and wonkiness to an
object that has survived perhaps a hundred
years. Its appeal is greatly enhanced and far
more interesting than the original form.”
But in a throwaway, consumer-driven
marketplace, such appreciation has waned.
New York author and set designer Andrew
Baseman, like Spindler, wants to change that.
He is the force behind the detailed blog Past
Imperfect: the Art of Inventive Repair, which
this circa 1920 European porcelain
teapot with cobalt-blue dots as
decoration has metal staples and
patches from tin cans and wire.
Practical and charming, it can be
traced to Afghanistan in the 1950s.
he has devoted to the make-do cause.
“Once regarded as damaged goods by
antiques dealers and collectors alike,” he
writes, “antiques with inventive repairs are
justly receiving the respect they deserve. In
perfect condition, one might not give the original object another thought. Suddenly, there’s a