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On mending at Toast

Last week On Mending was at Toast for the launch of Toast Renewed in Notting Hill, with a discussion on mending with author Celia Pym, Jessica Smulders Cohen, Shoreditch Toast repairer, led by Yasmin Jones-Henry, strategist for @raeburn_design and founder of #TheLabE20

Solvable problems
Celia, Yasmin and Jessica talked about the empowering nature of mending and how handling the work develops our material intelligence. Celia said: ‘A hole is a solvable problem, it’s very grounding’. Jessica talked about the soothing, repetitive nature of stitching and how that kind of material intelligence, learning with her hands, has helped her over the years. Yasmin mentioned her work with LabE20 and how setting up repair workshops has increased young people’s capacity to learn through their senses.

Wellies mended with Sugru

The Toast repair sheme
Toast now have six on-site repair specialists around the country. Their new project features items that never made it to the shop floor due to imperfections, that have been repaired and are now better than new. Toast gifted attendees to the talk a copy of On Mending: Stories of damage and repair by Celia Pym. They also received some swatches of Toast fabrics to do their own repairs. 

It’s not all about textiles
At the event I met the writer Katie Treggiden and Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh (above left) who literally invented Sugru! So cool. If you haven’t tried mending things with Sugru, where have you been?

Events Coming up

Meet Make Mend is this Wednesday, 1 March at Trinity Rooms, Stroud. 7–9pm. Learn to darn and share your mending conundrums, no experience is necessary  Book here.
We’ll be at a pop-up Death Cafe at Stroud Brewery this Tuesday evening. At a Death Cafe people gather to discuss death. Their stated objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.
Join authors Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds at The Freud Museum in London for a talk on 15 March. They will be joined by author of Listen, Dr Kathryn Mannix. Book tickets on the Freud Museum website.
They will also be taking part in the Stroud Film Festival with an event on 19 March showing the film Pathways Through Loss directed by Danai Papadatou. After the film Danai will be taking questions from the audience directly from Athens. The q&a will be supported by The Good Grief Project and Compassionate Communities. Sunday 19 March, 3pm Trinity Rooms, Field Road, Stroud GL5 2HZ (across the road from Stroud Maternity ward).

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Book events coming up

We’ve had a busy few weeks with some great book events. It’s been so good to make contact with real people. For the many who couldn’t get tickets to hear Freddie Robins and Celia Pym at Loop, there is a film of the whole thing, so grab a cup of tea and settle in for a listen. If you have any more questions for Celia and Freddie, just drop me a line. There’s lots more planned so sign up to the newsletter and follow on Instagram to be the first to know.

1 December
The authors of When Words are Not Enough: Creative responses to grief, Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds, will be in conversation with Sophie Pierce, one of the contributors to the book. Sophie lost her son Felix and talks about how she has managed to carry through cold-water swimming and the letters she writes to him. Dartington Trust Bookshop, Totnes, Devon. 1 Dec, 6pm More information and booking here.

Sophie Pierce Photo: Dan Bolt

2 December
Celia Pym, author of On Mending: Stories of damage and repair, will be online hosted by the lovely Tatter Library in Brooklyn, New York. Discussing individual stories from the book, she will explore mending as small acts of care; mending and the body and why the softening of clothing to take on the shape of its owner can be moving. After the talk Celia and Jordana Martin from Tatter will be in conversation about care and repair in textiles and the body. More information and booking here.

Elizabeth’s Cardigan, mended by Celia Pym
Judith Kleinman at Ink84, North London

4 December
Finding Quiet Strength has been highlighted by Juno Magazine as one of their top picks for Christmas books to gift. It’s such a beautiful hardback object.
Author Judith Kleinman will be at Highbury bookshop Ink84 to give an introduction to Finding Quiet Strength, the philosophy that underpins her new book. Bring your yoga mat to get involved. Sunday 4 Dec, 11am. More information and booking here. Judith will also be hosting a longer residential retreat at Hawkwood College, Stroud, 20–22 January. Something to look forward to. More information and booking here.

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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