“Pamela Newton is a Textile designer, Maker, Artist and Writer who has a passion for natural fibres and colour. With a horticultural background, a dyer, spinner and weaver, making cloth and products from the field, through each process is endlessly fascinating, innovative and challenging. Studying a BA (Hons) Textiles: Knit, Weave and Mixed Media at Carmarthen School of Art has been an incredibly exciting journey.
From humble beginnings in 2008, Potting Shed Direct, offered gardening services to local people, quickly establishing and outgrowing an initial purpose of weeding and pruning to become known for designing and creating gardens out of neglected plots. As a long term sufferer of ME, Myalgic Encephymelitis (or as it is more commonly and inaccurately known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) the physical demands of the work took its toll and dramatically curtailed the endeavours of the business. By 2012, only 4 years down the line, the 10 year plan, when the 4 small children had grown up had to very, very quickly come into play!
By 2013, Potting Shed Direct had quietly chrysalises into Natural Threads, a craft company encouraging natural creativity in every sense of the word. Workshops were developed to encourage that natural creativity within us, with sessions on how to extract colour from plants. Regular stalls at markets and events enabled the message of sustainability, so imperative to the ideology behind all that I do in life to be spread intuitively. Where else could you buy a ‘Pick n Mix’ of naturally dyed wool!
Ok so the idea, never made me millions BUT I felt I had sense and purpose. Still struggling with acceptance really of my illness and disability (oh how I hate those words!! They mean ‘cant do… Barred to me!) I dipped in and out of remission and relapse, but on the whole started to enjoy my identity as a human for the first time.
The idea of committing to a 3 year full on course was not really open to me, I started studying with the OCA (The Open College of Arts) for my Textile degree. Thoroughly recommend it, met some fantastic virtual colleagues, fellow students and friends, many of whom I am still in contact with today. However, for me , my perfectionism got the better of me and I worked out it would take me 12 years to complete…. fast approaching my 50th birthday I needed to get a move on if I was going to transcend into my life plan and earn a living !
Never being one to let the grass grow under my feet, I had started a garment construction and pattern cutting course at Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen School of Art in the evenings. Again met some incredible people, many who I am privileged to call my friends. Many have held hands with me on this incredible journey, many undertaking their own exciting journeys which I have been part of. What a family! I found myself, after resisting fiercely, believe me, within a couple of weeks actually physically being on a 3 year full time degree for Textiles. Me at art college. Laura Thomas, a most talented person I have come across, intuitively, selectively and quietly nudged me in the right direction that I find myself now. I cannot begin to give justice to the tireless efforts and superb guidance I have received at this college from the building, facilities and excellent staff. I really cannot praise it enough for all the support and encouragement it has given me. It is a small, college based here in West Wales holding most definitely its own alongside far bigger universities, I am exceptionally proud to have been a part of it and very emotional about leaving.
Natural Threads, is now ready to expand to physically grow its own colour and fibres, continuing to engage people in the fascinating art of natural crafts from the field all the way through to creativity. The next phase of the journey for me, personally, is to develop a brand, a fashion label that embraces the bespoke qualities of nature. ‘Boddy & Cloth’ a play on spellings, with a personal, poignant story. I am so excited to be sharing this with you……xx