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Boddy and Cloth: Behind the scenes

Welcome to Boddy and Cloth 

 

My name is Pamela Newton. I am entering my final year of an incredibly exciting BA degree in Textiles: Knit, Weave and Mixed Media at Coleg Sir Gar, School of Art in Carmarthen, West Wales.

 

This blog shares an insight into the journey; with details of the preparations undertaken for the final modules and the graduation process, studies within sustainable fashion and culminates in the launch of 'Boddy and Cloth'; bespoke, sustainable fabrics and products.

By pam newton, Nov 2 2017 12:30AM

First impressions, start to create memories. Scanning the landscape is a bit like one of those QCR barcodes. The lines, marks, dots and slashes, quickly registering to guide you to more information. Focusing intently on this ‘barcode’ provides interesting outcomes. The juxtaposition of the softer flora set amongst hard geological elements, providing colour and form. Lines created by fissures in the cliffs, such as at Old Hunstanton, Norfolk. Those patterns set in several stratums of different textured ‘sediments’ or the manmade lines here in Wales, no more than 50 yards from home. The cultivation patterns in the distant forests, skirted by the straight shadows of the distinct uniform trunks. Like any meditation practice, this unique fingerprint of a place becomes clearer when the mind is focused on less. At this point, finding colour a distraction to exploring ‘form’, it helps to work in ‘black’ and white or as is often the case Paynes Grey or Prussian Blue. Why remove the colour, when it is so essential to cloth? When initially considering designs it helps to spend time focusing on form, to provide food for patterns and weave structures even as a way of preparing for digital consideration. Reducing the ‘noise’ and complexity by this simplification also helps to create that first impression however, fleeting the moment may be, capturing its essence for translation.


By pam newton, Sep 3 2017 02:55PM

Considering the materials to use becomes vital when considering longevity of the cloth vs sustainability. The project, indeed a BA Textiles degree is always about cloth, yarns and construction of durable, fit for purpose cloth. Creating sustainable cloth, develops further considerations; to produce contemporary cloth that has a circular life.


Looking to the landscape for inspiration, answers some of these considerations. The identity of place is quite often bound up in the flora, fauna and foe of the landscape, adapted to survive in the identity of its landscape.


Wool; in my opinion, one of both Wales and Scotlands undervalued commodities is an obvious choice. The 'how' to make it contemporary and exploit its qualities come from the processes. For me, spinning is a meditation.; feeling that fibre slip threw my fingers in rhythmic salute to the landscape it comes from. Creating texture by applying different combing, carding or plying techniques. Colouring with flora, fauna and foe to create a truly sustainable product to work with; unique to my style, interpretation and needs. I find this is one of way I can truly bring authenticity into my work.


Using fibres made from vegetable matter whilst traditional in the form of fibres such as flax (linen), cotton and nettle are now a growing market for contemporary design. With fibres such as bamboo, tencel and hemp finding their way way into more prominent design and use.


For a previous Haute couture module last semester I indulged my desire to work with metals, using a very fine 0.002mm wire woven together with natural dyed threads of the above. I would like to explore this further, especially within the art context both to standalone and accompany designs.


The blending of fibres together to spin is also something I enjoy and wish to epxlore further, creating unique textures . Juxtaposing the qualities to reflect the contrast found within a landscape; as well as those both seen from afar and up close. Different effects are created, reflecting the diversity of its identity; the layers of depth, transparency and clarity.


To colour; natural dyes, pigments and inks created by myself, through the alchemy of the natural world is my choice. Taken from the land to be put back into it once the cloth wears, with an understanding of the power of the chemistry involved. For nature, is powerful, chemical and can be dangerous if not respected like the power of the elements.

By pam newton, Aug 2 2017 02:44PM

You can probably gather, my overwhelming love of nature and in particular plants. Throughout my degree it has become abundantly clear that the landscape as a whole is significant to me; inspiring me in so many ways. From colour, structure, patterns and form. Living here in Wales and travelling around in my Mitsibushi campervan with my fellow companion appropiately named 'Indigo', I seek out the wild and isolated landscapes. Driving every morning and night over a mountain top to and from college, through all the dramatic season changes we are so lucky to have in the UK, I witness their effect on our landscape. Those effects on the fire passes made by tractors on dry heath, the bloom of the plants that habitat that soil, to the soil eroded cliffs and rocks. The textures, colours and sights give those locations their identity. Read more about some of those travels HERE.


As I have been working through my degree, I realise I have been shaping my identity too. What surprised me the most was how I have been carving a path to be an artist, something I never thought I was. I claim to be creative but an artist...no. I knew in my future after my degree that I would 'make', hoped I would learn to design but didnt anticipate the strong desire to create art.


Bringing this together, broadly was easy! The contextual module on 21st Century Art that I had written last semester; which was seen from the perspective of identity, got me thinking how multi cultural we all are.; In a very 'mobile' world of travel, communications, faith, inter marriage and partnerships and so on. How do we classify or 'mark' our own unique identities now? No two people have truly the same cultural identity. You can read the essay HERE.


On a practical level, it has been extremely thought provoking trying to work out the 'how'. How can I bring all these elements into a sustainable, weave and mixed media project for my finals?


I begun by breaking it down, there are strong elements that I need to consider and define 'my identity'.


I am a person who believes very strongly in self sufficiency, circular lifestyles.

I am a gardener.

I love working on every process from field to product.

I am a natural dyer.

I love creating hand spun yarns from natural sources; working with textures.

I love creating cloth.

I love working with the resources from nature; creating yarns, pigments, dyes and inks.

I love making yarns, cloth, clothes and art.


Now I am sure you can, as I can start to see some potential probems here from a professional point of view. Yes.. absolutely I am too; screaming ....Time management! Economic viability! Idyllic notions that are unworkable, impractical. Not too mention that consideration of health constraints.


My dissertation is formulated.


Title: Creating a sustainable, circular and economically viable practice as a textile designer.


The theme for my practical finals will always have to be built around a sustainable, circular cloth. The aim to create 'cloth' and clothes. The birth of a future label; 'Boddy and Cloth'. Both extending and complementing its sister company Natural Threads: a natural art and crafts supply company that also offers workshops, that started in 2013. Take a look at www.naturalthreads.co.uk


Research for patterns, colour and form will take place considering the marks made in the land by both nature and man, creating the identity of place. I love travelling; visiting many places in the UK as well as India. Last years trips to North Wales and Scotland formed the basis of a module in Mixed Media and has fed these plans for this coming years work in land marks. For this module I examined rock formations both manmade and by nature, with studies of slate mines.


I have now extended this interest to include 'other' marks made in the land. Exploring and comparing landscapes to get that real sense of identity. Already fascinated with the welsh coastlines and spending time in The highlands of Scotland I recently spent time , in complete contrast, along the Norfolk Coastline; from Hunstanton to Cromer. Read about my time in Norfolk HERE


Its getting exciting, with collections building of experiences, photography, sketches, materials and ideas.








By pam newton, Jul 30 2017 05:05PM

At this, the beginning of the journey for the final year of a BA Textiles degree in Knit, Weave and Mixed Media, there are many 'threads' to consider in setting a brief for myself and planning its execution.


With a passionate interest in nature from an early age, it was logical to consider creating a collection of natural fabrics following the processes from field to fabric. This was not something I fell into but more a lifestyle choice that I have been working towards since a small child.The child who rummaged around within the River Thames drift all those years ago. With life now nestled within 3 acres of field here in West Wales, ripe for dancing with the dream and the graduation date to be soon upon me, its time to bring it all together. Read more HERE.


I am so determined and passionate about learning about, educating others and creating sustainable cloth, believing in the circular process necessary for protection of our planet, yet I have learnt through the journey of this degree that this can be obtained in so many ways. Many of them developing into innovative, exciting and contemporary ideas. Exploring old traditions in new ways to adapt the processes and outcomes; offering circular, sustainable and alternative approaches to fast fashion.


This blog will aim to create a mixture of anecdotal, colloquial styled accounts with more professional, technical research based findings suitable for inclusion within my final BA submission. It will accompany design proposals, sketchbooks, design boards and final samples exploring sustainable fashion. Read More about whole journey HERE.



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