In a few days MADE London will open. It’s on 24-27 October this year. Always a popular fair in the contemporary design calendar, this year sees a fantastic selection of Design-Nation exhibitors. We are presenting our first ever group stand at this event.
Weaver Pamela Print will be part of this event. In the busy run-up to the show we managed to catch up with her to ask her a few questions about her practice, inspiration and challenges.
Design-Nation asked: Please tell us about your practice and how your business began.
Pamela answered: I am a hand weaver, working primarily with wool with a focus on interior products and artworks. I graduated from Central St Martins in 2001 with a degree in woven textile design. I spent 6 months selling my handwoven fabrics to fashion brands in New York, then went on to work as a woven textile designer in the fashion industry for 14 years.
I set up my weaving practice at the end of 2017 whilst living in Brussels. Living in a buzzing, creative area (Saint Gilles) rich in Art Deco architecture and surrounded by artists’ studios had a huge influence on my work and was catalytic in my return to hand weaving.
D-N: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
P.P: There are too many to mention! I was originally looking to study fashion but during a foundation course in Fashion Design & Illustration I realized that I wanted to pursue textiles. I signed up for an evening course with Caroline Bartlett at City Lit to help develop my textiles portfolio, which really opened my eyes to textile art. Caroline really helped cement my decision to pursue textiles and get onto my chosen degree course. The women in my family are all creative and have influenced and encouraged my career. My grandmother was a painter of traditional fairground art and also introduced me to the craft of hand knitting.
D-N: What inspires you?
P.P: A new yarn; art; architecture; fashion. It can be a combination of things that can trigger an idea. I love surface texture, so I am always on the lookout for inspiration for new weave structures.
My recent work is inspired by the Art Deco architecture in Brussels, local to where I lived for 7 years. The Bauhaus is also a strong influence. Each of my designs are named after a commune in Brussels or a local landmark, for example Altitude Cent, which is a local Art Deco church.
D-N: Please tell us a bit about your design process.
P.P: I start by collecting imagery /photographs / yarns and study the proportions of colour using yarn windings on card. I then design the warp and threading plan which determine the cloth density and the size of the pattern repeat. A lot of my best ideas transpire from experimenting on the loom. I love combining colour and weave structures to create new shades and surface texture – it’s the element of endless surprise that comes with weaving that excites me. The finishing is important, particularly as I work with wool. I experiment a lot with felting.
I also use weaving software to work out large scale designs. Once I’ve sampled the ideas on the loom, I input the technical info into the software to develop the scale and proportion of colour, before weaving the final piece.
D-N: What is the best thing to have happened in your business to date?
P.P: Getting my first big commission at the beginning of 2019. To know that people appreciate and value your skill is important.
D-N: What is your workspace like?
P.P: I share a little shop-studio with a ceramicist in a small village near Chelmsford, just outside London. It gives me the opportunity to display my work and also give demonstrations to members of the public. In the near future I am looking to purchase a full width loom and rent a larger studio to also accommodate dyeing and spinning facilities.
D-N: Do you work hard on your PR or do others help you to market your business?
P.P: I do all the work myself currently. I have just invested in a photoshoot with a great photographer and stylist, which I hope will help a lot with getting more press.
D-N: What are the main challenges in your practice?
P.P: Juggling all the different hats – being a maker, as well as managing all the other aspects of your business can be challenging at times.
D-N: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
P.P: I would like to be an established brand. Selling collections in various outlets, whilst also working on large scale commission pieces. Owning a large studio with a variety of looms to accommodate workshops, along with spinning and dying facilities. Using natural dyes and spinning with fleece combined with waste yarn is something that is high on my agenda.
D-N: If you could collaborate with someone new who would that be?
P.P: Whilst exhibiting at the London Design Festival I had a lot of enquiries about using my fabric for upholstery. This has led me to a potentially exciting collaboration with a furniture designer-maker that I met last year at an event. There is so much buzz around furniture makers right now, and some great ideas out there, so I am really looking forward to being part of a project of this kind.
D-N: If you weren’t a designer what would you like to do?
P.P: I enjoy working with people, so maybe working in the community for a charity supporting the elderly.
D-N: Why did you join Design-Nation? What is helpful about being a member?
P.P: Being part of a community of makers is so important, as most of us work alone and need the support. The opportunity to exhibit as part of a group in some great high-profile events can really help to raise your profile and can lead to great collaborations between makers.
I’m feeling really positive about the newly formed London cluster group. We’ve just had our second meet up, and it was so helpful to brainstorm ideas and discuss any issues we have.
D-N: Do you have you any exhibitions, commissions or events coming up that we should know about?
P.P: Made London with Design-Nation this month!!
MADE London – Marylebone
24 – 27 October 2019
One Marylebone, London NW1 4AQ