Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000


Copyright © 2000 by the author(s).


In 1923 Pipsan Saarinen Swanson (1905-1979) moved with her family from their native Finland to the United States and soon settled in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan near the newly established artistic and educational community of Cranbrook. The Saarinens' European home, Hvittdisk, was a cultural center in Finland-filled with beautifully handcrafted furnishings, frequented by noted artists and musicians, and designed by Pipsan's father, the illustrious Finnish-American architect, Eliel Saarinen. At Cranbrook, Eliel created distinctive modem structures for the schools, art academy, and faculty residences. The Saarinen family collaborated on the interiors of these buildings-Loja (Pipsan's mother) designed rugs, carpets, and upholstery fabrics that were hand-woven on campus, while Pipsan and her brother, architect and designer Eero Saarinen, contributed decorative ceiling and wall treatments and furniture designs. Through careful consideration of how each element would relate to its surrounding furnishings, architecture, and natural setting, the Saarinens created an environment at Cranbrook where art was integrated with daily life.