Color photograph of a light skinned woman with gray hair wearing glasses and a loose fitting blue top

Elizabeth Whelan

Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize
September 1, 2023–January 12, 2024
Principal, Elizabeth Whelan Design, Brooklin, Maine
Project title
Silk in the Alchemy of History
Project description

As a Rome Prize Fellow, I will explore design and production innovations deploying silk as a potential performance material in new practical applications that will contribute to contemporary woven textiles. After undertaking research into Italy’s original contributions to silk production, weaving technology, and textile design in the early Renaissance, I will develop an extensive series of exploratory design studies comprised of inventive weave structures with distinctive surface patterns and design motifs that suggest viable solutions to the challenges encountered in producing performance textiles. The American Academy’s convivial interdisciplinary environment will afford me an invaluable opportunity to engage collegially with accomplished artists and scholars and invigorate my passion for creativity in design that does not prioritize functionality over aesthetics.