Pearla materializes sounds in hand-woven textiles!

Pearla Cloth

Here’s presenting the works of Pearla Pigao, who investigates how she can materialize music and sound through digitally hand-woven textiles. There are similarities between how to digitally build a surface in the weave and how to build a musical composition.

With this as a starting point, she transforms different sound structures into tactile experiences. The sound becomes three-dimensional, something one can physically touch and move around. This practice is related to her background as a musician. To Pearla, sound and music is a starting point and her entry into the visual arts, in the craft, and in the loom.

“By using metal wires as warp and weft in the loom, I have transformed the woven surface into a musical instrument inspired by the theremin. A theremin consists of an electronic oscillating circuit of which the musician herself is a part. The theremin is one of very few musical instruments to be played without being touched. Rather it is played by the musician’s hands as they move between antennas thus interfering with the electromagnetic field of the circuit. My woven musical instrument consists of similar components as those of a theremin. When the viewers move in interaction with the textiles, they become co-creators of the sound composition of the work. Since the sound changes by the audience’s movements and proximity to the textile, the work becomes interactive,” explains Pearla.

She further tells us that this is also a way to experience textile, both visually and in the form of the body’s movements against the fabric. The textiles get an expanded sound-based “body”. The more people moving near the surface, the higher the tone you will create. The sound is controllable for one with a good ear, but the textiles will sing back to anyone and the viewer simultaneously becomes the listener and the composer.



Pearla graduated with a master’s degree from Oslo National Academy of the Arts spring 2017, where she also took her Bachelor’s Degree at the Department of Textile Art. Pigao has already exhibited her works in several platforms both nationally and internationally. In 2018, her works were a part of the Norwegian Presence exhibition in Milan, and they were also shown during the year’s CHARTin, both at the Charlottenborg Kunsthall and at the Design Museum Denmark.

For her examination work Sinus, Pigao was awarded the Norwegian Artisans’ Student Prize and the Arts and Crafts Prize from the Fund for Art and Design Students, as well as a BKH scholarship at Agder’s Scholarship Exhibition. In 2017, she received a miscellaneous scholarship for newly-graduated artists from the Norwegian Cultural Council, and in 2018 she was awarded a 3-year scholarship from the Arts and Crafts Fund.