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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Elizabeth Lay

Biography

Elizabeth Lay is a textile curator with a MA in the History of Decorative Arts and a BFA in Art History and Business Administration from the University of Kentucky. Formerly she was the owner of Orlean Fine Tapestry and held a license from the V&A for needlepoint designs. She has taught extensively and has been an avid stitcher for more than 45 years.

She was first able to apply her passion for textiles as an interior designer and furniture designer. Later, she worked as an arts administrator building and managing community arts councils, art galleries, and advocating for arts and artists. Her most cherished award is the Key to the City of Gaithersburg (MD) for her many contributions to the cultural life of the City.

Ms. Lay went on to open her first studio in 1997 as a quilt artist and textile designer. Her quilts are in private and institutional collections throughout the U.S. She attributes her love of textiles to her father who was also an interior designer. It was in his studio where her love for fiber and design began. However, it was her mother who taught her to express herself through stitching. Together with her siblings, they worked canvases as a family.