Celia Pym

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. Celia’s tools are scissors, yarn and a sharp needle.

Roly’s Paper Sweater and Elizabeth’s Paper Cardigan, both featured in Tangled Up are tracings of a sweater and cardigan belonging to my Great-Uncle and Great-Aunt. They were brother and sister. The sweater and cardigan were laid on top of newspaper and traced around, then cut out and the darning marks, and texture of the knitting stitched into the paper.

In 2020 I would get a newspaper delivered daily. This everyday material, thrown away at the end of the week appealed as a familiar and disposable material. I have always loved newspaper – the feel of it, the thin, crunchy, pliable paper and the patterns of the print and images together. I used to love laying it out at school for art class – patchworking the tables with it for protection so they would not get paint on them. Then seeing a new picture at the end of the lesson made by all the paint that spilled over the edge of our paintings. The paper underneath our work pristine and the edges all messy.  Threading wool through paper it drags and quilts the newspaper. The more yarn added, the more like cloth it becomes. Flexible and soft. These newspaper drawings of Roly and Elizabeth’s sweaters were imagined as of shadows of them both. Stitched into this temporary material that fades and ages.”