Hub Meets Celia Pym - Artist and Author of On Mending: Stories of Damage and Repair

It’s a crisp November morning and I’m sat on the 76 with a borrowed camera and a copy of Celia Pym’s new book; 'On Mending - Stories of damage and repair'. As the bus turns onto Englefield Road, I’m tracing back to a time when I first met Celia. It was definitely in Hub. Celia was training to be a nurse back then and over the years we’d talk. Sometimes about clothes. Sometimes about work. Sometimes about other stuff.
Exchanging life stories on the shop floor.
But mostly, Celia would listen.
Listening (and mending) is what she’s good at.
'Darning is small acts of care and paying attention.
The damage, in a way, does the work for me. I respond to it... The mending is slow work to hold the damage in place.'
Celia Pym is an artist, known internationally for her unique and deeply resonating mending work on garments in need of repair. Celia makes damage visible, and beautifully so. 

Her work has been exhibited in the V&A Dundee, The Wellcome Collection, The Design Museum and in 2017 she was Shortlisted for The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize. Not long ago, Celia was receiving calls from Maison Margiela requesting she create a piece for his 2021 'Artisanal' Collection.
Which she did. 
Celia’s recently published book has gripped me, albeit delicately so.
It’s a tender collection of 'mending stories' around garments worn, torn, moth eaten, (sometimes scorched) and time degraded. It feels very biographical. (Roly Pym's sweater is the centrepiece to her first story.)

‘Writing in the first person gives the book a spoken quality and that’s what I wanted... And it’s not really a manual on how to mend,’ Celia explains as she works her needle through a piece of knitwear. ‘It’s really a book about grief.’
'On Mending - Stories of Damage and Repair'
(Available in HUB)

We spend the best part of half an hour sharing stories and catching up while I take photos. Celia's days are incredibly full with commissions, deadlines (and teaching too) so Celia works as we go but is entirely present.
Listening as she repairs.
Talking as she mends.

We say goodbye and I leave feeling seen and restored somehow. I jump the 76 to Stoke Newington and get back to my book... Page 33; 'Hopes Sweater'.
Words and Photography by Charlotte Gascoyne.
Celia is hosting a very special Mending and Darning workshop in Hub this January. You can book a place in-store or online. Tickets are £60 and there are 10 places available.