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Textile Art Students Create Unique Designs for Bowman Hall

Posted Sept. 10, 2012 | Jessica Smeltz
enter photo description
Students from the College of the Arts decorated the walls
of Bowman Hall with a woven art piece that is visible to
people walking along the Kent State University Esplanade.

Kent State University has been making strides to update and improve the appearance of campus facilities with the help of faculty, staff and students. This year, a dedicated team of art students from the College of the Arts has set forth in hopes of adding art to Kent State’s Bowman Hall.

“By showcasing their creativity and collaboration within teams, the students’ designs remind me of what the Kent State Excellence in Action mantra really is about,” says Charmaine Iwanski, architect at Kent State University. “I look forward to more of these types of projects and student engagement.

The idea to decorate the walls of Bowman Hall piqued the interest of staff and students in the College of the Arts during the hall’s recent renovation last summer. The art piece will be a continuous weaving installation that will run along the northern walls outside of the two main lecture halls, Rooms 133 and 137, and will complement recent cosmetic changes. The piece is a digital jacquard tapestry woven at a mill and mounted on wood frames. When individuals walk along the Kent State University Esplanade and look toward Bowman Hall, they will be able to see the artwork through the building’s large exterior windows due to its architectural design. The piece was designed to catch people’s attention when viewed from both near and far.

“We have an impressive operation here at the textiles studio that we want everyone to know about,” says Janice Lessman-Moss, Kent State art professor in charge of the project. “I’m really excited for the students to display their capabilities, and Bowman Hall is going to be the perfect location for everyone.”

The project was reviewed and critiqued by members of the Sculpture Walk Committee. A lot of time, planning and coordination went into creating the art to match the overall design of the building, including carpet colors and interior wall colors.

Kent State is one of a few universities to own two Jacquard looms used for the artwork. The loom projects start out digitally and once designed, are woven with tremendous detail. A mill-woven piece is more tightly woven, thus sturdier than a hand-woven piece, ensuring that the design will last longer. The design was mapped out in the hallway with a string and the finished weaving was mounted on custom built wooden frames to provide added dimension.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to showcase the technology that is available in the textiles program here at Kent State” says Joanna Donchatz, textile art graduate student. “Especially since it’s located between the textiles studio and the Art Building, it gives others a lot of opportunity to notice our work.”

The design was installed just in time for the fall semester. It is the first of many art pieces in the works.

For more information about the project, contact Iwanski at ciwanski@kent.edu.