Episode 32: Digital Quilt Designer, Libs Elliott
Recently, Vickie sat down with artist and digital quilt designer, Libs Elliott. Libs uses digital code to concept geometric patterns, which she then translates into the extraordinarily modern and graphic quilts. They talked about Libs’ process, how to teach kids the principles of coding and crafting at the same time, and how she aims to preserve craftsmanship while embracing technology. She’s crazy talented, and seems, well, just cool.
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Libs Elliott is a textile designer exploring the intersection of technology and traditional craft by using generative design to build handmade quilts. A deep appreciation for craftsmanship, design history and future-focused applications are all reflected in her work. She studied Material Art & Design at OCAD University and live and work in Toronto, Canada. Her commissions include work for individuals and corporate clients such as Playground Inc. Libs has exhibited projects and done speaking engagements internationally. Her work has been covered by press such as Gizmodo.com, Design Milk and Casa Vogue Brazil.
All the quilts are randomly designed using a programming language called Processing. The project began in 2012 as a collaboration with designer and technologist, Joshua Davis (joshuadavis.com), who provided the original code framework. Using Processing allows Libs to quickly edit the code and generate random compositions from simple geometric and traditional quilt block shapes.
This ongoing project is an exploration in how modern technology can transform a traditional and tactile craft into modern functional art without abandoning the inherent pleasures of handcrafted products. Many of us have become accustomed to identical mass-produced goods, but Libs believes many of us also crave personalized objects that communicate our individual identities. Her goal is to underline the importance of craft as art in our contemporary age by producing bespoke modern heirlooms – just like quilts from a century ago, these are pieces that can be passed down through generations.
Working from digital to analogue combines the quick gratification of generative design with the slow handcraft of building a quilt. Libs loves not knowing what the composition will look like until the Processing tool renders the image on-screen. There are millions of possible combinations and each one is unique. But in the end, it’s the idea of transforming intangible strings of letters and numbers into something warm and luxurious that really appeals to her.
ENTER TO WIN Libs’ PDF Pattern Bundle including: The Rebel Quilt, Just Like Heaven Quilt and Deadly Rhythm Quilt.
To enter, post a comment about how technology affects your creativity. All entries must be received by 10pmCT on February 8, 2017.
Libs’ Fabric Collections for Andover
Produced by: Vickie Howell
Edited & Mixed by: Dave Campbell
Music Provided by: Explosions in the Sky
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6 Responses to “Episode 32: Digital Quilt Designer, Libs Elliott”
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Thanks for this interesting and in depth episode, Vickie. Your creative podcasting is an important aspect of technology enhancing my personal creativity. Also, the ability to learn skills via video classes, youtube demonstrations, etc., has been critical for me. I learn best by observing others execute various techniques and being able to replay or stop video while I try, etc. Learning techniques from a book is not as useful for me, personally. Regarding needlework generally, charting software has also greatly enhanced my personal creativity and understanding of needlework patterns, and more.
With the advent of the internet technology have become part of our everyday world. Sites such as Pintrest have allowed me to gain ideas to help in my own knitting and crocheting, as well as, more recently weaving. It is great to be able to see what others are doing and finding more ways to be creative using technology.
Loved the interview with Libs! And I’m partial, being Canadian 🙂 I used technology for creating by searching out all sorts of things on the inter-web and listening to podcasts every weekend and while doing chores, makes the chores so much more enjoyable!
When you were talking about how instruction for knitting and crochet is actually code, it reminded me of how the computer was actually invented. It was inspired by the Jacquard loom,
Way back in the 70’s we had computer punch cards, they were much like the shafts Jaquard loom uses to render the intricate patterns it weaves. Of course only “smart” people could figure out those cards. 🙂
Just one of those little fun facts!
I love listening to podcasts. I learn about yarn companies that I haven’t heard of and patterns I haven’t seen. Instagram is where I can see new patterns and find new designers both for knitting and sewing. I’m getting excited about starting up a business again and this podcast is helping feel like I can make it work! Thank you for starting this podcast!
What a great podcast! Technology is very important to the creative process to me when it comes to inspiration. Seeing what others are doing makes me want to create all the more.