Celia Pym is an artist living and working in London. She has been exploring damage and repair in textiles since 2007. Working with garments that belong to individuals as well as items in museum archives, she has extensive experience with the spectrum and stories of damage, from small moth holes to larger accidents with fire. Her interests concern the evidence of damage, and how repair draws attention to the places where garments and cloth wear down and grow thin. In clothing, this is often to do with use and how the body moves. She explores the difficulties of mending other people’s clothes, the materials used for mending, and making damage visible. Pym’s tools are scissors, yarn and a sharp needle. “Darning is small acts of care and paying attention. The damage, in a way, does the work for me” she explains. “I respond to it. The mending is slow work to hold the damage in place.”
Her work has been exhibited internationally most recently in On Happiness: Tranquility and Joy, Wellcome Collection, London (2021) Siblings, Trading Museum, CDG, Paris (2020), Sewing Box for the Future, V&A Dundee (2020-21), Material Matters, Textilmuseum, St Gallen (2020), Don’t Feed the Monster! Galleri F15, Moss, Norway (2019) and Kind Things, Curator’s Cube, Tokyo (2019). In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize and the inaugural Loewe Craft Prize. Pym is a visiting lecturer in Mixed Media Textiles at the Royal College of Art, London.
photo by Michele Panzeri