Bicat & Peralta

“I thought it sounded impossible, but it is not. Ideas start coming along as you start talking about what can be accomplished by combining printing and weaving. So it is really exciting.”

What happens when two makers come together who share a fine art training but have different weaving and printing expertise?

They produce a series of technical samples, learning from each other’s skills.

Bella Peralta is a weaver and artist, Jenny Bicat is a textile designer, who uses painting and hand screen printing techniques to create unique garments.

Bella and Jenny set out to experiment printing onto the warp threads prior to weaving the fabric. Jenny was doubtful at first:

“I thought it sounded impossible, but it is not. Ideas start coming along as you start talking about what can be accomplished by combining printing and weaving. So it is really exciting.”

They under took their experiments in each other’s studios. Jenny visited Bella who weaves in the same workshop in which her parents worked. Joan and Gerry Carter’s looms, warping mill and stores of threads became bound into their collaboration:

“The first time I came to Bella’s studio I just took lots of photographs looking at all the beautiful things linked to weaving.”

Some of the tools they used through their project included Theo Moorman’s shuttles and beaters. Like Bella’s parents, Theo Moorman was an integral part of the community of practice associated with the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen.

Bicat & Peralta
Frame weave with blue reactive dye paste on ne silk yarn with a linen heddle
Frame weave with blue reactive dye paste on ne silk yarn with a linen heddle
Extract from Journal showing original design and printed and woven fabric
Extract from Journal showing original design and printed and woven fabric

Both Bella and Jenny shared their technical knowledge. Jenny learnt to weave:

“I didn’t understand any of this before, we had to start right with the basics.”

Bella learnt the practicalities of printing and painting on warps: the chemical properties of dyes, binding agents, and different techniques of steaming the printed yarns to x the colour.

They worked with cotton and silk yarns for their own printed and painted woven samples.Their experiments allowed the pair to learn how the painted and dyed threads of the warp moved as they became integrated into the woven design.

Some of their samples involved printing directly onto different weights and textures of handwoven fabrics from their store cupboards: Bella pulled out some of her father’s handwoven silk; Jenny found some silk crepe de chine and hand woven cotton strips from Burkino Faso:

“I like printing on this hand weaving.The textures are interesting, I like the way the pigment sits on the surface of the fabric.”

The next step is to print a quantity of warp threads to enable them to make a length of handwoven printed fabric for a garment.

This entry was posted in categories; Two Make.