Elizabeth (Libs) Elliott is a textile artist exploring the intersection of technology and traditional craft by using generative code to design and make 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 lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Libs has been making quilts since 2009 and designing fabric collections since 2015. Her commissions include work for individuals and corporate clients such as Absolut Vodka. She has exhibited her work internationally and has been covered by press such as Gizmodo.com, Design Milk, and Casa Vogue.
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In this interview, we dive right into the idea of generative AI being used to produce artwork. For many years, Libs has been using a code framework called Processing to produce randomized designs for quilts. We talk about the inherent difficulties in creating a truly random design, alternative methods to use such as rolling dice, and how interesting it is that AI-generated artwork is such a hot topic right now.
Next, we go back to Libs’ childhood and talk about going into antique sales on the weekends with her father, who was an antique dealer when she was growing up, and seeing all the quilts hanging on the walls of the barns. Libs talks about the various areas of study she pursued in school and her initial fear of using technology in design. She took a job as a project manager at an advertising firm and worked there for 15 years before venturing out on her own as a quilt designer.
Libs talks about the multiple sources of income she’s developed including teaching, publishing patterns, designing fabric, and Patreon. We focus on her fabric design journey, talking about searching for a perfect fit with a fabric company and what that looks like.
Libs has done some interesting and exciting partnerships as well. She explains her partnership with Absolut Vodka as well as a few others.
And, of course, I ask Libs to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Libs recommends: