Katlin Rothacher earned her B.F.A. with a concentration in Textiles from Kent State University’s School of Art in 2010. Katlin has been returning to Kent State during summers and winter breaks periodically to work with our Jacquard loom in the Textiles studio while attending grad school in Georgia. We asked her a few questions about her time at Kent and how our faculty have influenced her chosen career path in the visual arts.
Q: Where are you currently going to grad school?
A: The University of Georgia, located in Athens Georgia. I commute there from Atlanta Georgia, where I live. I work half of the time in my Athens studio and half time of the time in my Atlanta studio. I am currently pursuing a M.F.A in Sculpture with a focus in Weaving / Fibers / Material Studies with an anticipated graduation of Spring 2018.
Q: How did you learn about the Textiles program at Kent State?
A: Through a friend of mine who was in the glass department that had been at Kent for a few years already and saw the type of work I was interested in making during my first semester at Kent. I enjoyed using material and processes such as string, fabric, stitching, and drawing. In 2005 he suggested that I go visit the textiles studio (which had just moved into the Lake / Olsen facility) to meet Janice Lessman-Moss and see what I thought about the department based on my love of tactile material such as yarn and fabric. I did proceed to go to have a meeting with Janice as a freshman and knew instantly that this area was where I belonged. Janice encouraged me to jump right into weaving, and I loved it. I had many years to explore the weaving processes and mediums under her direction.
Q: Did you receive any awards during your time at Kent?
A: While I attended undergraduate school at Kent State I received the School of Art scholarship multiple times and also received the Gallery Directors Award in one of the annual student Juried exhibitions.
Over this past summer 2016 when I was weaving at Kent State I found out that I had won the “Creative Promise Award” from a fiber arts organization called Surface Design Association. I was awarded a scholarship and will be featured in a publication coming out in the winter edition of Surface Design Magazine.
In May 2016 I won the “Complex Weavers Award” for a piece in a juried exhibition from the international fiber arts organization Complex Weavers. This award will be featured in an upcoming publication in Complex Weavers Magazine. The piece I won this award for was handwoven at the Kent State fiber arts studio on the TC-1 Jacquard loom during time I spent coming back to Ohio to work there as a visiting artist and weave on the Jacquard Looms (which I do often on summer and winter breaks in between semesters).
Q: How have the faculty here impacted your decisions to further your education in visual arts?
A: The time I spent in the Kent State textiles department was extremely informative to the development of my ideas about art as I learned much about weaving and different fiber processes that are centered in the realm of the contemporary art craft movement. The faculty at Kent State, and Janice Lessman-Moss in particular, were professors who really connected with their students and aided in the development of technical skill as well as conceptual advancement through critical thinking. The experience I got out of my involvement with the KSU fiber department did very much impact my decision to pursue my M.F.A. because it helped me to realize that it was one of my life goals to teach the hand skills of weaving to the next generation of makers passing on the knowledge of an ancient tradition to young modern artists. I would love to have the opportunity to impact the lives of other artists in a way similar to how my life was molded and shaped by the time I spent with compelling artists, both graduate students and professors while I was at Kent State.
Q: Do you have any advice for current KSU art students?
A: Take advantage of the community that is present in the art school. Through the meaningful relationships you can form in this environment, you will gain so much feedback offered to you about your work. The platform to grow your ideas and skills both intellectually and technically that is provided from professors and fellow art student peers while you are in school is priceless.