Philomela Textiles

This is part of AD PRO’s Designer Takeover, in which working designers contribute stories to the site. Here, Bonnie Saland, psychoanalyst and founder of Philomela Textiles, explains how her company grew out of a resistance to patriarchy.

My textile company, Philomela, is a response to the patriarchal tyranny I experienced in the relatively privileged format of a formal MFA program. The name comes from a Greek myth in which innocent Philomena is captured and repeatedly raped by a powerful brother-in-law. Her captor renders her voiceless by cutting out her tongue, and Philomela resorts to alerting her sister (Procne) to her situation by weaving, ultimately delivering a tapestry telling her story.

This myth, like so many others, represents the patriarchal bias of its originating culture. Both Philomela and her sister ultimately respond to their trauma through vengeance—murdering and offering the perpetrator’s son up for his dinner. This, of course, punishes all involved, as the victim is both Philomela’s nephew and Procne’s son. The myth closes with the gods rendering all major players as birds, Philomela as the swallow.

Ultimately, the tale represents both pain that is “unswallowable” as well as the potential for turning that experience into creative function. Throughout centuries, women have rewritten stories of abuse and constriction with textile offerings. In doing so, they create a new beginning—a rewriting of mythology in a language where abuse is not channeled into revenge and chaos but continued creativity, and a higher order of development. It’s a theme that shows up in creative works as wide-reaching as Selma Hayek’s Frida, where Kahlo creates surrealistic masterpieces to illuminate her inner world, and Beyoncé’s genius reinterpretation of infidelity in Lemonade. In both, like Philomela, the hurt female assembles her resources and translates her suffering into the motivational fuel to make something of beauty and integrity.

stack of pillows
Pillows from Philomela.

Photo: Diana Koenigsberg

My own transformative process began with an accident shattering my left leg and foot, the departure of two grown children from my home, financial disruption that precipitated the sale of my family home (and with it, a desire to take my creative practice outside the domestic realm), and a lingering childhood dream of myself as an artist and attending art school. Entering a formal MFA program meant my own transformation from authority (as an analyst) to subject and novice (as an MFA student). Likewise, it required movement from the contemporary Los Angeles psychoanalytic community (dominated by theory) to an art world dominated by considerations of aesthetic criticality. My personal history and predisposition made for a rough sail through a formal MFA program, where I was exposed to both the authoritarian nature of the hierarchical public art world and (at times) the educational posture of breaking a student down to facilitate increased growth. The art I produced reflected this struggle.

My art-making process remains fairly consistent. Color, method, and material choice is intuitive yet incorporates formal training as the process unfolds. Meaning, both as it relates to narrative and choice of methodology, most often it is revealed to me after a piece is finished. I take my subject matter both from the personal and collective unconscious, and from figurative, geographic, or literary prompts. These images are re-configured as paintings, prints, collages, digital forms, and textiles. My own body of work thus becomes a personal reference library, an archive of imagery—or personal visual language—to be utilized in various reiterations.

painting of figures
“The Pagan In Me,” a work by Bonnie Saland completed during her MFA program.

Photo: Courtesy of Bonnie Saland

During my first residency session in the MFA program, I created a portfolio of handmade paper titled “The Pagan in Me.” The image and text in the piece document my experience as a student through the Philomela conceptualization.

Lately, ensconced in the enterprise of my own making (with the profound support of many talented and skilled collaborators), I am once again free to articulate a personal narrative. My “Rock Hard” collection, released in 2018, comes from a creative journal of the same title and reflects this inclination.

I take comfort in the fact that the archaic premise of hurt women either becoming stifled or getting angry is negated by the history of textile worldwide, from Bombay to Gees Bend. For centuries, women have channeled their energy through weaving, stitching, folding, and offering cloth as a way to tell their stories, in a text that simultaneously serves aesthetically and function. Energy redirected into creativity, life, and growth provides a rewrite of ownership and mastery as next chapter. Women have long proved themselves experts at the task.

Borrowed from the March 29, 2018 issue of Architectural Digest.

Philomela Textiles: Cobra Head

Introducing the newest collection from Philomela Textiles. Cobra Head is based on the Avant Garde art movement CoBrA of the late 40’s. It is an un-fettered view of the art making process as a pre-cursor to today’s Outsider art. For more information, on the movement, as well as an overview.

The CoBrA group was a short-lived but highly influential artist collective formed in Paris. Named for the three northern European cities that its founders originated from – Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam – its approximately thirty members became known for their vigorously spontaneous, rebellious style of painting that was heavily inspired by the art of children and the mentally ill. With their intuitive methods, loose, gestural marks and strong colors, CoBrA artists have used of some of the techniques of New York School style of the same era. Yet CoBrA art is more political, and is more sensitive to the huge devastation of the European cities and people after World War II. Their democratic approach to viewing and making was inspired and further expanded what we now call Outsider Art (work made by untrained artists, especially children and the mentally ill) as a serious movement in its own right.

“The CoBrA Group Movement Overview and Analysis”. [Internet]. 2019.
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
First published on 12 Jan 2017. Updated and modified regularly.
[Accessed 26 Jul 2019

Wilton Carpets: Axminster Havana Collection


In 10 incredible fusionist designs that artfully blend layers of abstract pattern and familiar floral and geometric motifs, Havana is our latest Ready to Go narrowloom carpet range. Crafted specifically to cater for the needs of the pub/bar, leisure and restaurant sector, Havana’s cocktail themed designs bring striking modern design in colourways for the latest interior looks.

10 Stunning Designs Perfect For Pubs And Bars

Designs such as Pina Colada, Mint Julep, Bellini and Black Velvet use our brand-new Creations colour palette to dazzling result, offering beautiful base colour combinations of blue and grey with popping highlights of rust and lime green lifting these designs beyond the norm. Whether late-night cocktail bar or traditional country pub, Havana is certain to lift the mood and set a thoroughly elegant tone. Packed full of on-trend blues and greys, the range is a great way to introduce a sophisticated contemporary look in a ‘stock’ carpet that’s made specifically for pubs, bars and restaurants.

Wool-Rich Narrowloom Axminster For Longevity And Superb Value

The narrowloom 0.91m width is ideal for the often-complex layouts of pubs, bars and restaurants, working with designs that can go wall-to-wall in even the most historic of buildings without a straight wall in sight. Axminster woven in a durable, seven-row quality from a wool-rich blend that’s perfect for corridors, lounge areas and busy bars, Havana’s dark base colours and patterns also work to hide dirt between cleans.

As part of Wilton Carpets’ Ready to Go collection, all 10 of Havana’s vibrant, modern designs are available in any quantity, delivered within just 14 days.


For more information: Daniel Tillman

LMNOP Workshop: Photography to Promotion


LMNOP presents an insightful conversation focused on practices and processes of photography for promoting your project work and firm.


Photography is an essential marketing tool that allows us to be recognized by our peers and future clients.  In a competitive industry, it is important to stand out with the right photographic product.

Our panel will share their professional experience and present case studies relating to promoting your work through your website, social media and publication.
Presentation Panel:

Interior Photography
Interior Design
Principal at ENV
Interior Design
President, NY at ENV   
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM EST
Add to Calendar

Kimball Showroom
215 Park Ave. South
3rd fl.
New York, NY 10003

Register: LMNOP

Philomela Textiles: Giving Tuesday

In salute to the refreshingly “pink” wave that characterizes the incoming freshman congressional class, we offer our own Queen Honeybee pattern on an array of products.

In 2018, “a woman’s places IS in the home”
as in the governor’s mansion.  So let’s hear it for the folks that went beyond cynicism and did the hard work
of turning discontent into reformation!

In honor of Giving Tuesday and in support of the effort
to make sure every last vote gets counted, 10% of net proceeds on all Queen Honeybee products
will go to Protect Democracy.

Shop links below:
Pillows   Fabric   Wallpaper

IIDA NY: Speed Mentoring Back by popular

IIDA NY: Speed Mentoring

Back by popular demand and overwhelming success, the IIDA New York Chapter is having its Eleventh Annual Speed Mentoring Event, matching NY design students with leading Architecture and Interior Design professionals based in New York City.
Join us on October 17th at Humanscale.
The Mentorship Program affords students the opportunity to build a strong professional network, receive professional skill development and launch their careers on solid footing through impactful mentorship relationships. Please register to attend as signups will close once event spots are filled.
The goal of the mentorship program is to find a close match based on the participants’ assessments in order to foster more favorable mentor/mentee relationships.
Through this experience, students have the opportunity to learn from design professionals in the following ways:
Clarity and guidance in career paths
Professional skill development
Goal setting and an introduction to a professional network
Event Sponsor: Humanscale