School of Art opens two new textile exhibits

Shows display work by an award-winning artist and KSU students

By Laura Lofgren

Daily Kent Stater

Layer upon layer, hour after tedious hour, textile artwork must be

manifested slowly. Threads of a variety of colors are chosen and

blanketed over one another to create the illusion of a design from a

faraway distance.

The School of Art opened two exhibits this fall that focus primarily on

textile artwork. One is the work of students; the other is the work of

an award-winning artist.

Lia Cook

In Touch: Faces and Mazes

Lia Cook, an award-winning artist, weaver and professor of art at the

California College of Arts in Oakland, Calif., has brought her

collection of digital textile works to the School of Art Gallery from

the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her travelling show entitled “Lia

Cook – In Touch: Faces and Mazes” explores the “sensuality of fabric

and the human response of touch,” according to a catalogue clipping on

the gallery’s wall.

Cook’s work can be seen in the School of Art Gallery until Sept. 25, Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“My practice involves research into new technologies and new ways to

translate my images that make the structure visible and physically

felt, attempting to create the image as physical object,” Cook wrote in

an e-mail interview.

Anderson Turner, Director of Galleries in the School of Art, said it took some planning to get this exhibition to campus.

“We had the opportunity to bring this exhibit in September,” he said.

“It takes two to three years in advance to schedule the gallery.”

Cook has received numerous awards for her work, including being named a

Fellow of the American Craft Council in 1997 and a Gold Medal Award at

the From Lausanne to Beijing: The 5th International Biennial Exhibition

in Beijing, China in 2008.

Binary Fiction: Digital Weaving

Check out photos of the pieces on display.

In the School of Art’s Downtown Gallery in downtown Kent, a textile

exhibit is being offered to the public for viewing. “Binary Fiction:

Digital Weaving” is showing from now until Oct. 10.

The gallery, at 141 E. Main St., open Wednesday through Friday from

noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., features the work of

Kent State University alumni and students.

Featuring the same jacquard-style digital weaving as Lia Cook’s, the

tapestries displayed in the gallery have hints of handwork along with

the digitally woven fibers.

Amanda Meeker, a fifth year senior fine arts major with a concentration

in printmaking, works as a gallery attendant at the downtown space.

Working there for three years, she admires the detail to the

construction of each large weaving.

“There’s actually real gold woven into that,” she said, pointing to a

sparkling blue and gold tapestry done by Rumana Hawa entitled “Soular


The curator of the show, Janice Lessman-Moss, is also featuring her own

works. Lessman-Moss is a professor of textiles at Kent State


Along with hints of real gold, real phonebooks have been woven into one

of the larger works titled “All Together in the Soup” by Carla Tilghman.

“Textile isn’t just fabric and thread; you can weave a lot of stuff into it,” Meeker said.

What’s fascinating about textile art, according to Meeker, is the

historical aspect of it. Dating back to Greek mythology, tapestries and

weaving have been prominent in cultural arts for millennia.

Meeker added, “Theoretically, tapestries can double as blankets, but obviously these aren’t blankets, they’re fine art pieces.”

Lastly, on the second floor of the University Library is the Michener

Gallery, also offering textile works from current faculty and students

from the university’s textile arts program. The exhibition will run

through November, and its hours coincide with the library’s hours of


All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Contact School of Art reporter Laura Lofgren at [email protected].