Traveling crafts show arrives in Kent


Married students, Bethany Thomas, senior crafts major, along with Sheldon Thomas, senior Spanish major, enjoyed The Ohio Designer Craftsmen Best of 2011 gallery exhibit in the Art Building on Thursday Oct. 13. Photo by Amber Rowe.

Brittany Nader

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Students and faculty filled the School of Art Gallery Thursday to view colorful textiles, jewelry, stone and ceramic pieces from artists around the country.

The gallery housed an opening reception for the Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s Best of 2011 exhibit. Kent State fine arts alumna Kristi Kloss and Rumana Hawa were two of the artists chosen to have their work featured in the travelling exhibit.

Hawa’s vibrant textile piece, “Untitled,” and Kloss’ jewelry items, “Apiculture” and “Precious,” were on display. Janice Lessman-Moss, crafts and textiles professor, said Hawa was one of her former students.

“A show with a variety of media is always interesting because we teach all these things,” Lessman-Moss said. “So students in jewelry, glass and textiles have the chance to experience this work.”

Ohio Designer Craftsmen is a non-profit organization that aims to promote fine crafts art to a diverse audience with exhibitions across the country. This year’s juror, Paula Owen, selected crafts artists from across the nation to be featured in the exhibit.

“The diverse mix of materials, methods, styles and points of view in this exhibition reminds us all of our own individuality and the artist’s restless and eternal quest to express it,” Owen said in a press release.

The “Best of 2011” exhibit was brought to Kent State Oct. 11 and will be on display through Nov. 11.

“I like the shows that reflect a lot of different skills and craftsmanship,” Lessman-Moss said. “So I find that fascinating that they’re still valuing craft-making in whatever kind of form.”

Lessman-Moss said the pieces “Plumb” and “Catch” by Alysia Fischer of Oxford stood out to her because they were intricate and beautiful recycled works made from rubber. The larger pieces were suspended in the air near the entrance of the gallery.

“The traditions in textiles are about recycling,” Lessman-Moss said. “I like that (Fischer) made them so delicate from reused materials.”

Bethany Thomas, senior crafts major, said she was excited to attend a gallery show that featured all crafts pieces. The ceramic items by Kaname Takada from Columbus and Stephen Wolochowicz of South Bend, Ind. stuck out to her the most.

“All the pieces are really gorgeous,” Thomas said. “I can appreciate the technique and skill in the ceramic pieces, not just the painting and glazing. It takes huge amounts of clay to make those little guys.”

Thomas’ husband, Sheldon, said he attended the reception to view the kind of work his wife aspires to create.

“It’s good to see Bethany’s world,” said Sheldon Thomas, senior Spanish and education major. “All the students work so hard, and it’s nice to see what the artists outside of academia are doing.”

John Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts, said attending the reception taught him about the Ohio Designer Craftsmen.

“I try to make it to as many gallery shows as I can,” Crawford said. “This is right up there in quality.”

Contact Brittany Nader at [email protected]