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Award Winning Artist/Designer Cat Chow
Visits UNI in February 2007

Artist/Designer Cat Chow in Latham 251 at a design workshop with TAPP students



Multi-award winning apparel designer/artist Cat Chow spent two days at the University of Northern Iowa conducting lectures and work shops with the Textile and Apparel program as well as the Theatre and Art departments. The dates for Ms. Chow's visit were February 9 and 10, 2007. Ms. Chow's art/design work has most often been involved with creation of apparel from non-traditional materials; however, she has expanded her work into other forms of fiber art. Some of her more recognizable work includes an elegant gown made from a single, but very long, zipper; a gown constructed from 1000 shredded dollar bills, and a dress made from woven flexible measuring tapes.



A lecture, entitled "Cat Chow Unzipped" was given on Friday evening February 9 in the Kamerick Art Building auditorium, Room 111. The auditorium was packed with students, filling all seats and sitting in the aisles. Ms. Chow gave an overview of her artistic creations, while also discussing the inspiration for and cognition underpinning her various endeavors.

Christina Cerruti, a TAPP student,
introduces Ms. Chow

Ms. Chow makes opening comments
before lights are lowered

Ms. Chow lectures before one of her
well know zipper creations



Workshops with students from Textiles and Apparel, Art and Theater were conducted Friday morning and afternoon as well as Saturday morning at Latham Hall and/or the Theatre building. Students who participated in the workshops were required to pre-register and complete work beforehand in preparation before the workshop. Each student prepared 6 non-traditional material swatches according to guidelines specified by Ms. Chow.


The workshops were intended to have students work individually and collaboratively on non-traditional apparel designs. Most importantly the students had the opportunity to work with a world class artist/designer to push their creativity and to deepen their understanding of design elements and the design process! This was an incredible opportunity for those student who participated. Our TAPP majors entering product development career venues such as design, styling, or merchandising will now be more effectively equipped with enhanced design recognition tools!

TAPP majors Alex Etringer, Krystle Hovey, and Ashley Duroe prepare non-trad swatches


The workshops commenced with final completion and/or alteration of the non-traditional swatches. Below you can see TAPP students creating away!


Sarah Paplow considers her floral swatch

Claire Brooks muscles her raw materials


Caley Lensch seems delighted with her progress

Ellen Fry makes the final adjustments



After the swatches received their final attention, the students were challenged to collaboratively meld the varying swatches together into a coherent garment on a dress form. Below you can see photographs of the process.


Mounting the swatches presented some obstacles

Here a team comes from four directions bringing the design to life


Leah Feltz is totally focused

Rachel Willson concentrates


Cat Chow interacting with art student, Tim Embretson

Cat Chow contemplates while Ellen Fry works in the foreground


Cat and Linda Grimm confer. Linda, our apparel design instructor
 was a great help with all the event's logistics!

Dr. Annette Lynch (left) and Dr. Carol Colburn (right) discuss the days events.
Both women were instrumental in arranging Cat Chow's visit


bulletHere we see our students posing with Cat Chow and their creations!





In addition to the workshops and lecture there is an exhibition of Ms. Chow's work entitled "Derivations" located in the Lobby of the Kamerick Art Building lobby from February 7 through March 11. Seen below in the Art Building lobby are examples of Cat Chow's designs and some of the finished product created by students in the workshop.


Cat Chow original non-traditional designs on display in Kamerick lobby

Adjacent to Cat Chow designs are student workshop designs in Kamerick lobby



Ms. Chow's visit was financially underwritten through the generosity of the Northern Iowa Student Government (NISG), the Art Department and the Theatre Department. Thanks is also due to Dr. Annette Lynch for originally conceiving this event.

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Note: As is almost always true, the photographs on this site were taken and provided to the TAPP program with pleasure by Dr. Mitchell D. Strauss. Most of these photographs were taken in ambient light (without flash) with Dr. Strauss' 10 megapixel Nikon D200 digital SLR. The lens used was a Nikkor 18-200 mm super zoom, equipped with VR, a type of image stabilization technology. Blurring of hands seen in some of the photographs is a result of the slow shutter speeds required to capture the images in ambient light without flash. The photographs were captured in RAW format and converted to jpgs with minimal post processing. Dr. Strauss is grateful to the TAPP students for so generously ignoring his camera and for the most part acting themselves!