Reflections on Mending

Reflections on Mending

In her thought-provoking book "On Mending," artist Celia Pym delves into the intricate connections between textiles, language, and the human body. Pym's exploration goes beyond the traditional understanding of mending as a mere repair technique for garments, as she reveals how the act of mending can extend to healing and recovering the body itself. Through personal anecdotes and a deep understanding of textile craftsmanship, Pym invites readers to reconsider the significance of damage, repair, and the inherent care embedded in the art of mending.

Celia Pym handling a pair of mended jeans in her studio
Celia inspecting a pair of jeans with existing mends © Michele Panzeri

Drawing upon her extensive experience working with garments from individuals and museum archives, Pym brings a wealth of knowledge and intimate stories of damage to the forefront. Whether it be moth holes or accidental encounters with fire, she showcases the marks left by everyday use and the striking parallels between the wear and tear on clothing and the human body. Pym's attention to these seemingly mundane details serves as a reminder of the profound connection between our material surroundings and our lived experiences.

One of the book's remarkable strengths lies in its ability to weave together the intricate threads of textile craftsmanship, personal narratives, and the symbolism of repair. Pym's writing exudes a sense of care and attentiveness, mirroring the very essence of the mending process she advocates. She skilfully combines her practical expertise with a reflective and philosophical approach, making "On Mending" accessible to both textile enthusiasts and those with a broader interest in the intersections of art, healing, and human connection.

Norwegian Sweater spread from Celia Pym's "On Mending"
Norwegian Sweater spread from Celia Pym's "On Mending"
A fascinating after and before of The Norwegian Sweater © Celia Pym

As readers delve into the pages of "On Mending," they will discover a refreshing perspective on repair and restoration. Pym challenges the notion of mending as a mere act of replacing or remaking, urging us to embrace the slow and deliberate work that seeks to make things better. She beautifully captures the essence of mending as an unhurried journey of recovery and transformation. Through her words, readers begin to appreciate the significance of mending not only in textiles but also in the mending of our own bodies and souls.

Pym's emphasis on the importance of care shines through her exploration of darning. To her, darning is not merely a technique; it is a series of small acts of care. In an increasingly fast-paced world, she reminds us of the power of paying close attention and engaging in acts of care that anchor us to the present moment. By interweaving personal stories and experiences, Pym infuses her writing with warmth and authenticity, making "On Mending" a deeply relatable and inspiring read.

Mending in progress of Siri's Sweater
Mending in progress of Siri's Sweater ©  Michele Panzeri

Throughout the book, Pym's words beautifully depict the intertwining threads and yarns that anchor themselves into the healthy fabric, creating a rich tapestry of resilience and beauty. Through her eloquent descriptions, we gain an appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry involved in mending.

"On Mending" is not only a book about textiles; it is a book about our collective human experience. Pym's exploration of damage, repair, and healing transcends the realm of cloth, inviting readers to reflect on their own journeys of mending and endearing you to many of the owners of the pieces Pym works on through their stories. Her insights resonate deeply, urging us to consider the beauty that can emerge from our brokenness and the transformative power of slow and deliberate repair.

The stories within 'On Mending' © Celia Pym

In conclusion, Celia Pym's "On Mending" is a remarkable and enlightening book that delves into the intricate connections between textiles, language, and the human body. Through her personal anecdotes, expertise in textile craftsmanship, and contemplative reflections, Pym offers readers a fresh perspective on the art of mending. Her emphasis on care, attention, and the transformative power of repair makes this book a compelling read for anyone interested in the intersections of art, healing, and human connection. "On Mending" encourages us to reevaluate the significance of damage, repair, and the beauty that can emerge from the mending process.

You can order your copy of the book here.

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