Nina Paley, Theodore Gray, Christopher Carlson

Artist/Animator/Quilter; Chief Creative Officer, TouchPress; Software Developer
PaleGray Labs
Urbana, Illinois, USA

Human "free-motion" quilters achieve beautiful stitching patterns through a stream of consciousness process, combining rules with randomness in ways even they do not understand. We seek to learn from their techniques to create, not imitation human patterns, but computer-generated patterns of a different beauty. Our work combines the best of human and computer abilities, including crucially the computer's ability to hold in its memory, and apply optimizations to, an entire pattern of hundreds of thousands of stitches as a gestalt. Our ultimate goal is to create quilted animation using computer-generated, but human-flavored, patterns unique to every frame, yet coordinated frame-to-frame.

Muybridge Horses Quilt
Muybridge Horses Quilt
224 x 233 cm
cotton fabric, polyester batting

12 frames of Eadweard Muybridge’s famous horse motion study in silhouette, reverse-appliqué with colored batik underlay. Each frame has a different computer-generated single-line background fill. The entire quilt was stitched in 4 hours on a bedroom-sized computer-controlled quilting machine. This quilt is the result of ongoing research into algorithmic methods for automatically generating fills, with the ultimate goal of producing animations with thousands of frames, each frame of which is a quilt.