The textiles program is distinguished by a transdisciplinary approach that fosters conceptual vision and technical facility along with formal and material sensitivity. Coursework encompasses weaving, digital fabrication, off-loom construction, dye, and print. The curriculum emphasizes the position of textiles within a contemporary art landscape and is supported by evolving theoretical discourse.
Making and meaning are engaged as interdependent elements of studio production. Consideration of the distinctive properties and processes of textiles – repetition, geometry, line, color, pliability, and embodiment – engenders a rigorous vocabulary to support formal and conceptual inquiry. Students explore thinking and working with age-old hand processes while incorporating digitally-interfaced approaches to making. Individual and collective studio practice is contextualized through the study of histories, political meanings, and social themes that are deeply interwoven into the discipline of textiles.
Historically, textiles have been situated adjacently to other modes of making and thereby have the capacity to enfold innumerable approaches. Textiles encompass image-making, architecture, space and dimensionality, technology, and the body itself. Students are encouraged to consider their own making in relationship to a diverse field of artistic expression and further to approach Textiles as an interface to shatter disciplinary borders.
The undergraduate curriculum features extensive course offerings in digital and analog weaving complemented by courses in off-loom construction, dye, and print. The Bachelor of Arts program in Studio Art offers students a more generalized course of study and the opportunity to pursue a minor. The Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Studio Art with a concentration in textiles is a pre-professional degree intended to prepare students for a range of opportunities in art practice, textile design, and graduate study.
Learn more about the degrees and requirements:
The Textiles Minor offers an expansive approach to textile-making through the exploration of a broad range of materials and processes. Students develop technical virtuosity in tandem with their artistic voice. The curriculum integrates studio activity with the study of the social and political histories of the discipline to grow a holistic approach to textile practice. Programmatic flexibility encourages a course of study that supports individual interest and expression.
The Accessories Minor offers students an opportunity to focus on the design and production of innovative and unique objects within the studio areas of Jewelry/Metals/Enameling and Textiles.
The school offers both the Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Textiles within a contemporary art context. Graduate students engage in self-directed study and select coursework in close consultation with their advisor. The textiles concentration positions textile-making firmly within the contemporary art landscape while encouraging a transdisciplinary approach to studio practice. Students work closely with faculty mentors to nurture their artistic voice and draw upon the significant resources of the textiles program. Individual making is contextualized by engaging the histories, political meanings, and social themes embedded in the discipline alongside the broader art historical canon. The program integrates studio activity, art historical research, summer workshops, travel study to New York, and the culminating M.F.A. thesis exhibition as a means of guiding emerging artists toward an active, public, evolving, and sustainable art practice.
John Paul Morabito is head of the Textiles program; adjunct faculty members include Trey Gehring, Katie Shae, and Alex Younger.
- KENT STATE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM: The museum houses an impressive collection of historic textiles and garments, and mounts rotating exhibitions on decorative arts and fashion. Research of the collection is encouraged.
- SCHOOL OF FASHION DESIGN: The school maintains a Tech Style LAB that houses a range of digital output devices, such as a wide format digital textile printer, large format fabric laser cutter and digital embroidery machines. The Fashion School offers a course in Textile and Costume history.
- KENT BLOSSOM ART in TEXTILES: Generally offered on alternate years, these two-week summer workshops focus on specialized topics with visiting artists or may include travel study. Recent guest artists include: Rowland Ricketts, Bhakti Ziek, Pauline Verbeek-Cowart, John McQueen, Warren Seelig, and Jessica Smith.