Darning Clothes As an Art Form

darning for royal college of art show photo
The Royal College of Art Summer Show has a whole section featuring textile artists. Celia Pym loves darning clothes; she sees it as a way of reclaiming old clothes and recognising their intrinsic beauty. She has done it in Paris and the Orkney Islands and wants to mend her way around the UK. Now she is in London. For one project she invited people to bring in clothing with holes. Responding to signs stuck on posts, they brought in things that they treasured which may not have been particularly elegant, but were special to them. Then she repaired the pieces, making little embellishments by using unmatched colours and not-so-straight lines and squiggles. As part of her show, she will be inviting the public to come and learn how to darn, using old hospital sheets which will then be returned, all fixed up.

For her Graduate project she created a performance piece. She is knitting a pile of cream-coloured squares throughout the duration of the show. She intends to knit her height in them. She calls it "knitting until you're done" (that is until she graduates). In the old days knitted squares were used for blankets. For her knitting is productive, useful and meditative. Her other piece is based on her thoughts about legs; being an avid ocean swimmer. She has knitted a pair of long blue knitted legs with white lines of darning on them. :: Royal College of Art Show RCA