Celia Pym

Celia Pym was UK Craft Resident at Cove Park for 8 weeks in 2016. She studied Sculpture at Harvard University, Massachusetts and then completed an MA in textiles at RCA, London where she currently lives and works.

Her textile practice has a strong relationship to narrative and is often very sculptural, incorporating darned garments, knitted and embroidered textiles and public textile events. She loves a heavy darn and the feel of really worn down wool; the evidence of use in holes and where they occur; working with other people’s problems and the tenderness that can come with repair. She works surfaces closely like a detective and loves the way a darn looks: ‘wobbly frayed edges against confident solid filled-in spots.’

Often directed by commissioned projects, Celia wanted to use her time at Cove Park to reflect on her own work and to think about making objects. She developed several lines of enquiry around mending, sampling, collecting and methods of display.

‘My time at Cove Park was wonderful. I got in a great rhythm with making, stitching, darning and drawing. I made a curious cut up and heavily darned tracksuit (that I am still figuring out), small rectangles of knitted colour, lots of drawings of the view from the studio, a pair of gloves with darned fingertips, several new socks, an embroidery of a drawing, some mending of staff and residents’ garments and I collected a large volume of sea glass. Unplanned but I guess not unexpected was how much I appreciated the view from the studio. My work does not describe nature but I found I was very influenced by living in such a beautiful landscape. In particular the sky and the green colours of the hills, the dark colours of the water, by the layering and wildness of the landscape, by the light which was really clear. I have noticed since leaving Cove Park I am making brighter colour choices, and doing more collaging of fabrics and stitches both in repair work and in objects.’

Celia has exhibited across the UK, France, Italy, Norway, Japan and USA. Most recently in Craftschool, at Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance  (2017) and the LOEWE Craft Prize 2017, touring to COAM, Madrid, Spain and Chamber Gallery, NY, USA. Recent collaborations include 59 Sorties (2016), with Nouveau Musee National de Monaco and Parallel Practices Residency, Crafts Council/Kings Cultural Institute (2014-2016) with Dr Richard Wingate, exploring anatomy and mending in KCL’s Dissecting Room.

Since completing the residency in August 2016, Celia has been shortlisted for the prestigious LOEWE Craft Prize 2017 and for the first ever Women’s Hour Craft Prize. For the latter, she will be developing the work made at Cove Park.

Image: Knitted samples, Cove Park studio (photographer Dawn Youll).