Computational Quilting

Lorrie Faith Cranor (2012)

Lorrie Faith Cranor, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, spent her 2012-13 sabbatical at the STUDIO working on projects that combine her interests in privacy and security, quilting, computers, and technology.

For the Interleave series, Cranor began experimenting with building quilt designs with code, using a Processing program that drew sine waves filled with color. The program incorporated several parameters – frequency, amplitude, offset, number of colors, etc. – with slider bars to control them. The quilts were then constructed using a traditional quilting process. The visual texture of the fabrics provides an added dimension beyond the flat solid-color image in the computer-generated designs.




Interleave #3: Waveforms - 24.5"x24.5"
Interleave #3: Waveforms – 24.5″x24.5″


Interleave #4: Sine of Spring - 24"x31"
Interleave #4: Sine of Spring – 24″x31″


In Self Portrait, Cranor explored visual de-identification through pixelation. Self Portrait combines digitally printed fabric with squares of translucent polyester organza, lace, commercial batiks, and other printed fabrics to construct a pixelated headshot of the artist.


Lorrie portrait with blue hair

Lorrie portrait with blue hair

Lorrie portrait with blue hair

Self Portrait - 23"x30.75"
Self Portrait – 23″x30.75″


Cranor also referenced privacy in her De-Identification quilt. The project features digitally printed images of flowers captured with a 30x lens attached to a smartphone. Like personal data de-identification, in which data is removed and digital noise is introduced, the flower images are rendered nearly unrecognizable by the extreme magnification. These images are further obfuscated by slicing and reassembly, overlays, and stitching.



Press about Computational Quilting
1. Science Magazine – 2013 Visualization Challenge – 2/7/2014