We love Celia Pym


Traditionally intended to offer an invisible solution Celia Pym uses darning as a form of expression, held up for all to see. Her work is concerned with care: how we support and help others, illustrated through fixing other people’s things. Darning someone else’s garment can be an intimate process, repairing the part that is most often in touch with the body; just as emotional support can be intimate. vrvr When things go awry it’s not always within our power to fix them so it might be better to ask what do I need to do to make it ok? We try to smooth the fissures, although the cracks still remain – even a good repair leaves a scar – while the time taken to stitch these small repairs gives occasion to reflect on the damage and the process of mending. Pym studied Textiles at The Royal College of Art and is also a qualified nurse so I asked her what bearing this has on her work. “Nursing is such intimate work and requires great tenderness and care because you are with people when they are feeling vulnerable. And you have to touch and hold and physically support someone as well as being super observant, noticing changes in colour, temperature, temperament, mood.” cp005_018-e1442225970790-682x1024 As part of the project Parallel Practices, sponsored by Crafts Council UK and Kings Cultural Institute in 2014, Pym worked with Dr Richard Wingate in the Dissecting Room at Kings College London. Whilst there she was able to demonstrate care and craft-skill through mending the medical students’ broken things, while the students were learning the study of anatomy – through the dissection of human tissue. There’s an uncomfortable parallel between an ageing garment and the body that has inhabited it. In between the mending and the studying there were conversations about the generosity of donors and their families who give their bodies to science, about respect for the fabric of people’s bodies and about healing and reconstruction – how some things that are broken can be repaired while others cannot. The parallels between putting together a fragmented body or mind become apparent in the quiet time and reflection that slow making allows. As the skin thins, a helping stitch is not far away. Celia Pym will be hosting a workshop with Les Soeurs Anglaises from 21 - 27 September 2016. Les Soeurs Anglaises are offering a 10% booking discount for Selvedge blog followers. Click through onto their website to enter into their Christmas Competition. This is an extract from Katy Bevan's review in the Carnival issue of Selvedge. frfrrf

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  • Mending the holes | The Crafter on

    […] I have a review of an exhibition curated by Liz Cooper, What do I need to do to make it ok? in Selvedge this month featuring the intriguing work of Celia Pym. There is a blog post for Selvedge here. […]

  • Jan ter Heide on

    This really is so touching to see.
    The history of textiles and of the humans who did wear it.
    Beauty in a very different way.

  • Grace Warde-Aldam on

    Yes, this is an extract from Katy Bevan’s review of the show in the Carnival issue of Selvedge.

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