These days, there is no shortage of boldly patterned and textured goods that we can buy to outfit our homes – but perhaps, none are as unique and eye-catching as Bev Hisey’s designs. The Toronto, Ontario textile designer specializes in handmade carpets, cushions, soft seating, blankets, and many other decor items. Each piece from her quirky collection of products instantly becomes the focal point of any space.
Bev Hisey’s cushions come in a wide range of shapes and decorations: from die-cut motifs, to embroidery and leather appliques. One design that stood out to me was a series of pillows embroidered with tiny ants (as seen in the picture below). This unexpected design manages to bring the often unwanted side of nature into the home, in a fun - but safe - way.
A continuation of the insect theme is present in a relaxed foam chair with butterfly appliques. These gorgeous items are sure to charm even the most insectophobic among us!
As beautiful as these cushions are, Bev Hisey’s handmade rugs are the true standouts in her body of work. A fresh take on the design and symbolism of the carpet is present in Bev Hisey’s collection, which features symbols of modern Canadian culture and life. The designer has created patterns inspired by technology, as in the hand-tufted carpet called “Digital Calm” ( as seen below).
Below, the hand-knotted “In the Woods 1” carpet features a forest landscape familiar to Canadians.
The hand-woven “Paint Chip Carpet” mimics the colored samples familiar to interiors designers and crafters everywhere.
Bev Hisey’s carpets also speak to the issues of our modern times – tackling water pollution and commodification with “Blue Gold”, a carpet that is also a hydrological map of Canada. The name and nature of this hand-knotted piece suggests that a fresh water supply is the nation’s most precious treasure.
This designer definitely thinks outside of the box! In her “Medical” carpets series, she was inspired by microbiology! Her designs show detailed microscopic bacterial colonies and viruses, each carpet representing a different illness, from anthrax to SARS, to botulism.
The range of sizes and shapes of textiles that Bev Hisey has designed means that one of her carpets is sure to complement any type of interior decor. The smaller rugs are especially versatile, and can even be hung on the wall for those wanting a bold and non-traditional statement.
If the variety of amazing designs is not enough to convince you to add one of her textiles to your home, you should know that all of Bev Hisey’s carpets are made responsibly, and are monitored through Goodweave, an organization that helps eliminate child labor.
Visit Bev Hisey’s website and online store to view the whole collection! Just try to resist adding a gorgeous carpet, some pillows, and a room divider to your shopping cart! (I couldn't). Each of these unique creations is sure to be a focal point in your home, and a conversation piece for years to come.
Photos courtesy of Bev Hisey Textile Designs and Creations
Researched and Written by Leah Komishon, Faculty of Architecture, Environmental Design, University of Manitoba