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On Mending: a new book by artist Celia Pym

The artist Celia Pym lives explores damage and repair in textiles. Working with garments that belong to individuals as well as items in museum archives, she is exposed to stories of damage, from moth holes to accidents with fire. 

On Mending: Stories of damage and repair is a collection of ten stories of damaged garments – plus a rug and two backpacks, that Pym has mended in the last 15 years. These stories describe the ways in which clothes and cloth become holed, why a damaged sweater or backpack can be emotionally affecting and how mending a garment can unstick a stuck feeling.

‘Mending work builds on what is left behind. It’s not replacing, or remaking, or cutting apart and putting back together, instead it is slow work that makes things better. It conjures an unhurried recovery or change. In textiles, the act of mending wear-and-tear, thinning cloth or accidental damage builds on what already exists, anchoring threads and yarn into the robust healthy fabric and filling in the holes or reinforcing the areas that are weak.’

‘Darning is small acts of care,’ she says, ‘and paying close attention.’

Celia Pym

On Mending is published this November and available to preorder on our website now. Sign up to our newsletter for details of events and giveaways (we won’t bombard you, nor sell your details ☺️).

The contents page, On Mending: Stories of damage and repair
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When words are not enough

Everyone grieves for someone at some point in their lives. But how do we deal with the silence that often surrounds grief?  How do we find ways to express painful feelings when words are not enough?  In this deeply personal and beautiful reflection on grief Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds draw on their own experience of loss, and how the death of their son Josh has led to a creative response that is more than word bound. It also tells the story of thirteen other bereaved people who have found a creative response to their grief. 

The nature of grief
Here’s author Jane Harris talking with Dr Elaine Kasket, author of All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data, in a lovely down-to-earth way, about the nature of grief and how you don’t think you’ll be able to cope, but usually you don’t have a choice, so you have to get on with it. 

Jane and Jimmy’s new book, When Words are Not Enough: Creative responses to grief, explores the myriad creative ways that the bereaved find to express their loss. With a foreword by Dr Kathryn Mannix and contributions from thirteen other bereaved people. There have been some generous endorsements for the book too, so don’t just take my word for it. Published 5 Oct 22.

‘In the absence of any collective rituals or words with which to express their loss, this wonderful and very personal book offers those who find themselves in an agonising wilderness of grief, a kind of creative map to find a way out of the isolation.’ Juliet Stevenson

When Words are Not Enough shows us that searing loss isn’t necessarily the end, but a possible beginning.’ 
Greg Wise

‘Such an inspiring book – full of moving stories of people who have found active ways to respond to their grief, from photography through to (my favourite) cold-water swimming.  Jane and Jimmy’s ten ‘lessons learned’ about the loss of their child wisely reject any idea of ‘moving on’ or ‘closure’.  Indeed, this beautifully designed creation is itself an example of what the book is all about.  Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter

This is a book about sorrow, yet it is brimming with hopeThis is a book about loss, but it overflows with love and generosity.’  Dr Kathryn Mannix

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Your personal life-survival kit

The launch of the latest title from Prof. Judith Kleinman was at independent bookshop Ink84 in Islington. Attended by more people than we were expecting, we completely sold out of books! There were lots of musicians at the launch, including pop star Ella Eyre. The book has been endorsed by lots of fans, including Nick Hornby and Arabella Weir.

I learned a lot from working with Judith Kleinman. She was able to locate in me a stillness and equilibrium I didn’t know I had, and that has stood me in good stead for all the vicissitudes of work and domestic life.

Nick Hornby

Finding Quiet Strength (FQS) is a practical philosophy that connects to both ancient wisdom and modern neuroscience. Judith Kleinman’s work enables a calm, confident, and coordinated approach to life, helping us to be centred, grounded and develop a sense of poise and equilibrium.
At some point, most of us need help with the challenges of life. FQS is a practice of being present in a way that develops our emotional intelligence and embodied awareness enabling us to navigate the many ups and downs of being human. The work helps us to develop a deep and gentle self-acceptance. Through this self-acceptance, FQS helps us work on an embodied resilience and become more aware of what we can let go of and change.

Book Brunch also featured the launch on their website. Finding Quiet Strength: Emotional Intelligence, Embodied Awareness is available now.

I love Judith’s work. The drawings, words and thoughts are just lovely – their message is as calming as it is bursting with positive ideas. Easy to dip into yet rewarding to read, there are some great tools for life in this book.

Arabella Weir – Actor, comedian and writer

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Make your own toothpaste

Toothpaste tubes are made with up to seven layers of different plastics, plus aluminium and even where they can be recycled the process consumes high amounts of energy. Toothpaste is now available in glass jars that are more easily recycled or, even better, reused, but making your own is simple and you don’t need a degree in medicine. Talk to your dentist to find out what is and isn’t good for your teeth and the best approach for children who might benefit from a fluoride toothpaste every now and then. This is a refreshing and at the same time gentle toothpaste. 

Small Steps to Less Waste, a collaborative project with local residents, teachers and staff from Gloucester University and Action on Plastic. The latter is a charity set up by the author that is the recipient of any royalties from the book.

You will need: 

6 tbsp kaolin mineral clay

1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (food grade)

5 tbsp vegetable glycerine

5 drops peppermint essential oil 

5 drops sweet orange essential oil 

Mix the ingredients in a bowl, adding the glycerine last so you can achieve a consistency that you like. Stir well and keep in a small glass jar for up to a month.

Makes about 100ml, the same amount as an average tube of toothpaste. You can buy kaolin clay from zero-waste shops. If you are sharing your jar of paste, use a small spoon or spatula for each portion.

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Small steps, big impact

It seems obvious to that the climate emergency needs immediate, large scale action that will affect our way of life, one way or the other. Among some people there can be a sense of despondency that it is all the fault of big business and the scale of what we do doesn’t make a difference. The idea behind the Small Steps book is that if we all act together we can create real change and win back our sense of agency and experience the power we have as consumers and how we choose to consume. This in turn will pressure those bigger players to get their act together too.

‘While it is true that the challenges of our time require systems change and large scale actions, they also demand that we all do what we can in our own lives and our communities. Stroud has long been a kind of hothouse for new ideas, led by people with the courage of their convictions and support of those around them. This practical and inspiring book draws together the stories of ordinary people who decided to “be the change”, and who will be your guides into a more sustainable way of living. The main takeaway from this book? That all of these changes, rather than diminishing us, actually make our lives fuller, richer, better connected and more purposeful. Wave farewell to plastic and discover a world of ingenuity and creativity!’

Rob Hopkins: founder of the Transition movement and author of ‘From What Is to What If’.

Claudi Williams, author of Small Steps to Less Waste tells us what her inspiration was behind the book, why she wrote it and what her favourite sections are. The royalties for this book all go to Action on Plastic, the group that she set up locally in Stroud, that now has a Gloucestershire-wide remit.