Celia Pym on darning

22.01.19. Maker’s studio, London

Celia Pym is an artist who has taken darning out of the domestic sphere and into galleries and museums. In this episode we chat about a career that has encompassed studying sculpture at Harvard via jobs in teaching and nursing – as well as a stint at the Royal College of Art – to being a finalist of the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize in 2018.

One of the intriguing elements of Pym’s work is that she uses the process of darning and the objects that are brought to her to get to know people. As she told me in our discussion: ‘Early on I heard tons of stories about grief and I wasn’t sure if that was to do with me or the way I was asking the question… I realised it’s the damage that interested me sometimes more than the repair. I wondered if subconsciously I’d been communicating that. Instead of showing me a hole, I was saying show me the damage.’ Her story of how she started to repair her late great uncle’s jumper is genuinely emotional.  

Find out more about Celia Pym 

Elizabeth’s Paper Cardigan, made from newspaper and wool in 2020. 

A tracksuit top from Where Holes Happen Map, created in 2018. 

Norwegian Sweater comes from 2010. All images courtesy of the artist.