Practicing artist, psychoanalyst, and textile designer Bonnie Saland first started translating her fine art into textile patterns in 2012. She says, “I came out of an MFA program with a body of patterning. It took us two additional years to fiddle with edits, resourcing and production concerns, and then we began marketing in earnest in 2015.” The result was Philomela, which now hosts a catalog of over 200+ patterns available. Philomela has just launched a new collection of fabric and wallpaper patterns, called Rock Hard. We spoke to Bonnie to learn more.
What inspired your new collection, Rock Hard?
I’ll often free associate to an image, and the notion of crystals/ or rocks began floating in my unconscious. I found myself doing silkscreened ceramics with the mineral images you see in the gemstone pattern, and cut and collaged the stone images on to paper. That collage was then digitalized into the “gemstone” pattern format. I’ll often focus on bodies of work during certain timespans, and the visual journal I did that year, also revolved around rocks, stones, gems and difficulty. Thematically the “rock hard” conceptualization formed incorporating multiple meanings, and the final patterns are derivative of both the original ceramic work and journal pages.
How does it build upon, or depart from, your previous collections?
Original silkscreens and visual journal pages inform other collections (Sea Fruit, Jacob’s Ladder), and the same traditional textile pattern formats are referenced. I typically favor a certain palette of very mixed color. For that reason, the new rock hard is easily coordinated with previous collection offerings, particularly the cabana and cobra stripes, confetti, gingham checks, moon, and polka assortments We’ve also curated a full array of solid linens (“On Solid Ground”) that are great in the mix.
The subject matter, both in narrative and visual format, are new and distinct. “Opal” is a blown up scale for us, and “Helidor” is more primitive than typical of our patterns.
What do you most enjoy about the translation of a collection of art into a collection of fabrics?
There are endless possibilities for variation, as one can find multiple patterns from each tiny section of an image. Collaborating and curating possibilities into a coherent visual story, with our very talented team, is always a particular joy.
You are both a practicing artist and a psychoanalyst. How do your two practices complement each other – and how do you find balance between the two?
I’ve had a life long fascination with the human psyche and patterns of motivation and defense, the creative process and facilitating empowerment. I’m a big believer that beauty, peace and harmony are crucial to a well -lived life, and far from being easy to achieve either emotionally or aesthetically are life long complex challenges. Really, a great deal of what I do supports these common threads, that crossed and woven (and allowing for plenty of logistical glitching) make up one cloth.