American artist Emma Amos (1937–2020) is celebrated for her vibrant mixed-media paintings, or “visual tapestries,” that reside in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Wadsworth Atheneum.  However, the painter began her career as a weaver and textile designer at Dorothy Liebes’s New York City studio in 1961 (Fig. 1). As a recent college graduate, Amos took an experimental approach to etching that appealed to Liebes, who saw potential in the young artist’s color sensibility and design ethos.  Throughout her multifaceted career as a designer, educator, and artist, Amos maintained a connection to craft across various mediums, and her work is reflective of her textile background.
Prior to hiring Amos, Liebes shifted her business from fulfilling custom hand-woven commissions to concentrating solely on commercial clients and corporate collaborations.  This era can be defined by the studio’s exploration of new mediums and tools, such as large-scale carpet design and rug-tufting machines. An important corporate partnership during this period was with Bigelow-Sanford, who hired Liebes to create custom carpet designs (Fig. 2A, 2B, 3).  Amos contributed substantially to the success of the Bigelow Custom Carpet line, and she skillfully paired color and abstract forms to create visually compelling rugs. Fission—a rug designed by Amos—features undulating lines dancing with groups of gridded circles in a blue-and-green color scheme (Fig. 4).  This particular skill with color was a trait that Liebes herself was known for, and contemporaneous writers frequently attributed the blue-and-green pairing to the famed weaver. 
Amos and Liebes were featured in the lead photograph of a 1964 interview that appeared in Modern Floor Coverings magazine (Fig. 5). Amos’s chic carpet designs for Liebes were also featured in the pages of Vogue (Fig. 6). The custom carpets graced the floors of Liebes’s New York studio, as seen in an illustration showcasing Amos’s vibrant green rug design Garden Path (Fig. 7).
In a Bigelow catalog from 1967, Dorothy Liebes is directly credited for several carpet designs, which was a standard practice at the time; Bigelow’s affiliation with the esteemed tastemaker brought a level of sophistication to their floorcoverings. Although Liebes’s name was used, a majority of the rugs were designed by Amos for Liebes (Figs. 8–16). [7,8] Additionally, the oval rug titled Calliope, which was featured on the cover of both the Bigelow catalog and the 1964 cover of theARTgallery, was an original Amos design (Fig. 17).
The floor became a “canvas” for Amos’s vivid designs, and often her etchings directly inspired the rugs produced by Bigelow. The rug titled Blue Moon—designed by Amos (under the Liebes name) for Bigelow—was printed on the pamphlet cover for the National Design and Decoration Show (Fig. 18). On Amos’s personal copy of the pamphlet, she notes that the rug was based “on an original etching”—exemplifying how fluidly her work translated within the realms of art, design, and craft (Fig. 19). 
Working at the Liebes studio provided Amos with a steady income, allowed her to iterate upon designs, and fostered a network of support. Liebes herself encouraged the young artist, personally and professionally. Amos once said, “Dorothy Liebes . . . showed me how much energy it takes to be a success in a world of male power.”  Liebes’s studio instilled a confidence that would allow Amos to flourish in her future artistic endeavors.  Amos and Robert Levine married in 1965, holding their reception at the Liebes studio. Snapshots from Amos’s personal collection show the studio decorated for the event, with Liebes in a monochromatic cornflower-blue ensemble and her classic matching pillbox hat, while Amos poses in a dress of a pink fabric that she wove herself (Figs. 20, 21).
After nearly a decade of working for Liebes, Amos left the studio in 1969. She then focused on printmaking and painting, becoming the youngest and sole female member of The Spiral (a New York–based collective of Black artists).  Amos’s paintings and prints have definitive references to her textile past—she often incorporated fabric as the frame of her paintings, and she treated the representation of textiles within her paintings with astute attention and precise detail.
A unique chapter of Amos’s forty-year career was 1977–1978, when she was the creator, writer, and co-host of Show of Hands, a 13-week craft-based series produced by WGBH Educational Television (Fig. 22).  In the rug-making episode, Amos features the Calliope area rug for Bigelow and fondly recalls working in Liebes’s studio.  Each episode focused on a different craft and was taught in an approachable way so viewers could follow along at home. Amos’s children, then seven and ten years old, were the “test group” for each of the crafting lessons.  Their mother would ensure that the instructions were easy to follow and that the crafts could be made using familiar items in viewers’ own homes. She once again wove art, design, and craft into a seamless experience, this time through the medium of television. Similarly, Amos’s collage Sambo’s Tigers (1983) and the Bigelow carpet design Bengal Tiger from the early 1960s were paired by Amos in a course she taught at Rutgers in the 1980s called The Art/Craft/Design Connection.  The two pieces created by Amos share a compelling resemblance; they display how Amos applied similar design ideas to various media (Figs. 23, 24). Her legacy extends far beyond her work for the Liebes studio, and although Amos’s most celebrated works are prints and paintings, her textile roots are ever-present in each piece.
This research was made possible with major support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.
 Shawnya L. Harris, Emma Amos: Color Odyssey (Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, 2021).
 Ibid., 24.
 Monica Penick, “The Liebes Look: Better and Better for Less and Less,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes, eds. Susan Brown and Alexa Griffith Winton (New York: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2023), 172.
 “Officers Buy Bigelow Sanford From & H.” The New York Times. September 30, 1981.
 Erica Warren, “Fission: Design and Mentorship in the Liebes Studio,” in A Dark, A Light, A Bright, 189. See Irv Leos, “Dorothy Liebes: Idea Factory,” Modern Floor Coverings, February 1964: 27. Liebes employed the blue-and-green color combination often, notably for the curtain fabrics for the SS United States, and writers frequently attributed this pairing to her. See for example “The Liebes Touch,” Interior Design 34, no. 2 (February 1963): 96, in which the author notes: “She takes no credit for creating the combination (‘Nature thought of it first’), but it later proved to be one of the leading, highstyle color combinations in the country.” See also Joan Hess Michel, “Dorothy Liebes’ Design and Weaving,” American Artist 35, no. 4 (April 1971): 49.
 Warren, “Fission,” 189.
 See Amos’s annotated catalog from Cooper Hewitt’s African American Design Archive. India Amos, Emma’s daughter, confirmed that her mother designed certain rugs for Bigelow, in a conversation with Erica Warren, February 14, 2022.
 See Amos’s annotated pamphlet from Cooper Hewitt’s African American Design Archive. India Amos, Emma’s daughter, provided the author with Amos’s original etching that inspired Blue Moon, February 18, 2022.
 Mira Schor, Emma Amos, Susan Bee, Johanna Drucker, María Fernández, Amelia Jones, Shirley Kaneda, Helen Molesworth, Howardena Pindell, Mira Schor, Collier Schorr, and Faith Wilding, “Contemporary Feminism: Art Practice, Theory, and Activism—An Intergenerational Perspective,” Art Journal 58, no. 4 (1999): 9, https://doi.org/10.1080/00043249.1999.10791962.
 Warren, “Fission,” 189, 191.
 This research builds on the foundational findings of Shawnya L. Harris, the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art. See the exhibition catalog Emma Amos: Color Odyssey for more detailed information about Amos’s life and artistic career.
 This research builds on the foundational findings of Uchenna Itam, curator of the Henry Luce Foundation African American Collecting Initiative at the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
 Thank you to Peter Higgins, the archives manager at WGBH’s Open Vault archive who provided access to Show of Hands.
 India Amos, conversation with the author, April 20, 2022.
 Valuable insights were provided by the family of Emma Amos. A special thank you to India Amos, who generously shared information about the experiences of her mother, offered clarification for research queries, and provided several of the photographs and the artwork Sambo’s Tigers for this article.