On Mending: stories of damage and repair

Saturday 21 January, 4pm
On Mending: stories of damage and repair
By Celia Pym

Celia Pym will be talking about her new book On Mending sharing intimate stories from people's lives, of loss and love, as a result of mending the holes in their clothes. On Mending is a collection of ten stories of damaged garments – plus a rug and two backpacks – Celia mended in the last fifteen years. The stories record who the item belonged to, how it was damaged, how it was mended and where it is now.

“Mending work builds on what is left behind. It’s not replacing, or remaking, or cutting apart and putting back together, instead it is slow work that makes things better. It conjures an unhurried recovery or change. In textiles, the act of mending wear-and-tear, thinning cloth or accidental damage builds on what already exists, anchoring threads and yarn into the robust healthy fabric and filling in the holes or reinforcing the areas that are weak” – she writes.

Textile language crops up in the body: mending language works on the body as well as on garments. We describe the body as mending after illness or injury – ‘I’m on the mend,’ someone might say if they’re feeling better. You might hear a doctor or nurse describe a broken bone as ‘mending well’, or broken bones are often described as knitting back together as the break heals.

On Mending was inspired by Pym's experience of hearing intimate stories from people's lives, of loss and love, as a result of mending the holes in their clothes. Not a ‘how-to’ book, this is rather an in- depth look into the damage that we do, as manifested by our outer layers, our clothes.

Design: Fraser Muggeridge studio
Photography: Michele Panzeri
Publisher: Quickthorn

Celia Pym is an artist living and working in London. Her work has been exhibited most recently in Empathy for People, Empathy for Things, UH Art Galleries, Hertfordshire (2022) Eternally Yours, Somerset House, London, (2022), Say Less, Herald St, London (2022) Radical Acts: Harewood Biennial 2022, Leeds, (2022), Keep Being Amazing, Firstsite, Colchester, Essex (2022) and On Happiness: Joy + Tranquillity, Wellcome Collection, London (2021). In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize and the inaugural Loewe Craft Prize.

1 comment

  • Please can a book a place for tomorrow for Celia Pym’s event.
    It’s right up my street!
    Thank you. Caroline

    Caroline Cross -

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