The value of making; stories in cloth, tools and stitching

The value of making; stories in cloth, tools and stitching

June 8, 2023

An evening with Dr. Rose Sinclair, Celia Pym, and Emily Jo Gibbs.

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On 6th June we welcomed guests to an evening with Dr. Rose Sinclair, a lecturer in Design Education at Goldsmiths; Celia Pym, an artist who has been exploring damaged textiles and their repair through extensive darning and Emily Jo Gibbs, an artist who over the last two decades has established an international reputation for her delicate textile art work. Their passion for textiles unites them. Find out more about each artist here

The trio started the event by talking about their personal relationship and journey with textiles.

Rose has always told stories with her textiles, being a prolific knitwear designer in the 80’s. But her love of making textiles started in childhood with her Caribbean mother, who was an avid maker. She was part of a Dorcas Club, a local group of people, in this case based in a church, whose mission was to provide clothing to the poor. It was these clubs that are forming the basis of her PHD.

Celia Pym told the story of three damaged garments, how she came across them and the people they once belonged to. She described the ways in which clothes and cloth become holed, why a damaged sweater can be emotionally affecting and how mending a garment can unstick a stuck feeling.

Emily Jo Gibbs spoke about how her upbringing gave her confidence to make things and how important she feels it is to foster making skills in young people. She explained how her project The Value of Making (seven portraits of seven makers through the tools they use) came about and has subsequently evolved. She celebrates people who make things by stitching their portraits, which is a slow thoughtful process.

We had  invited our guests to bring personal textile items and share the stories behind the piece which was either given to them or made by them. Everyone got a to chance to speak, it was touching hearing about the hidden history behind each item.