Meet the Alumna: Pamela Print, hand-woven textile designer
5 August 2018 by Meghna Sarkar in Alumni Stories, Features, Home, Interiors & Auto
In conversation with Pamela Print, textile designer and TexSelect alumna, about her new direction designing sustainable hand-woven cushions and throws.
It’s a busy day for Pamela Print (and yes, before you ask, it is her real name). The 46-year-old British textile designer is gearing up to present her collection at MADE London, the annual contemporary craft and design fair at Canary Wharf. An alumna of Central Saint Martins, with a BA in Textile Design, Pamela is currently based in Brussels.
The neat little stall inside the exhibition, Pamela’s first showcase in London, displays a collection of Art Deco inspired sustainable merino wool throws and cushions curated for the contemporary home. Completely hand-woven, the colourful geometric patterns are eye-catching. “I was inspired by the architecture in Brussels. I walk around it every day and the art deco is everywhere,” says Pamela. “The details on the doors, windows, the balconies led to the initial sketches but when it comes to woven textiles, ideas always develop on the loom.”
Pamela Print’s Art-deco inspired cushion collection…
Her range of cushions are named after the communes in Brussels. There’s the Ixelles, the Saint Gilles and the Uccle, all woven with an extra weft technique in shades of blush pink, bright yellow and classy indigo with intermittent grey patterns. Filled with British fleece, with a hand-woven UK-made Harris Tweed backing, the cushions aim to be 100% sustainable. “I feel,that not only the textile, but the entire product should be sustainable,” says Pamela.
The Ixelles cushion in indigo…
The front of the cushion is made from Merino lambswool sourced from a British yarn supplier that only buys fleece from a non-mulesed source. The filling is British fleece – Dorset Horn. “The filling is entirely fleece, not feathers or synthetics. I am really mindful of sustainability in my daily life as well – I try to minimise waste and the use of plastics for example.”
There are four different designs in all, handwoven in her studio, each offering four different colourways, created with a wool insert layered upon an ecru, plain woven base. The slightly embossed effect gives an idea of a broken twill weave with multi-coloured diagonal lines intersecting each other throughout the pattern. The throws complement the cushions, created with a similar technique and in identical palettes. Pamela spent a year developing the designs using her hand-loom in Brussels.
She also teamed up with the Bristol Weaving Mill to make small batches of her throws for the final collection. “I had applied to MADE London in January and didn’t expect to get selected,” says Pamela. “When I heard, I contacted the mill and they helped translate the hand-woven textile.”
The collection of coordinated throws…
After graduation, she was chosen by Texprint (now TexSelect) in 2001, giving her the perfect platform to create her own label.“TexSelect gave me the confidence to present myself and my work to the world,” says Pamela. “I got a lot of support in terms of setting up my own business. In University back then everything was very artsy and the business side wasn’t heavily focused . Thus, TexSelect was a really good launch pad.” While showcasing at the London preview, Pamela met Julius Schofield (MBE), legendary fashion and textiles talent scout and former chairman of TexSelect. Her designs were promoted and sold in New York for two seasons by Schofield before Pamela started working full time. “I wanted to develop my skills as a textile designer, gain more confidence in developing weave structures and learn a lot more about the industry and how it works,” says Pamela.
Working for textile and garment supply companies like Dewhirst, she collaborated with weavers, manufacturers and buyers and oversaw production for clients such as Topshop, Marks & Spencers etc. “The greatest thing about working for these companies was an opportunity to go to Premier Vision, Pitti Uomo, twice a year, along with trips to India, China, Turkey and working with different weaving mills. It gave me the experience and skills I needed to start my business.”
Moving to Belgium for work proved to be another turning point as Pamela ended up staying there, giving up her job about two years ago to spend more time with her baby daughter. It was then that she took out her old handloom from storage.
The next step was attending FILO, the international trade show of yarns and fabrics in Italy which provided Pamela with the initial raw materials needed for her textile explorations. “I literally fell upon this idea of using the extra-weft technique by accident,” reveals Pamela. “I also felt there was a gap in home textiles. Interiors influence fashion and vice versa and they always kind of work hand in hand.”
However, the first few weeks were tough. “Even though I had great technical knowledge, setting up the loom on my own after so many years was challenging. It took me some time to remember all the little tricks,” confesses Pamela. A year later, she is promoting her eponymous label at MADE London and gearing up for the London Design Week (specifically London Design Fair at The Truman Brewery September 20-23; she’s in Hall 7 Stand 7.26 ). “I aspire to be a zero-waste brand. So currently, I am thinking of weaving offcut fabric pieces for mynext collection though I am not sure where it will take me,” smiles Pamela. Judging by her work, the possibilities seem endless.
Pamela Print’s new online shop is at www.pamelaprint.com