Braiding a story

Erica Rodney 

By Rod Nimtz, External Relations & Communications

On exhibit through March 31 in the Galleria of the Miriam G. Knoll Campus and Community Center on the Middletown Campus, Kanekalon: Family is a collection of works by interdisciplinary artist and designer Erica Rodney of Columbus.

Born and raised in the US Virgin Islands, Rodney is one of a family of 12 children. Growing up she was encouraged to pursue art by her family, friends, and her high school art teacher. She moved to Columbus to attend college, served in the US Marines, and returned to Columbus to complete her MFA at the Columbus College of Arts and Design in 2018. 

In describing her work, Rodney shared that “in my family, we are braiders. The Kanekalon series of works came to be through exploration of ideas that highlighted hereditary creative skills, as well as art forms that have been in families for generations but may have been disregarded as a fine art form.” 

Image from Kanekalon: Family exhibitKanekalon is a synthetic, modacrylic fiber lab-engineered to make artificial hair. It is popular due to its texture, cost, and incredible versatility for styling, shaping, and sculpting, and is especially popular in black communities all over the world.

She lives in Columbus with her husband and daughter, and works at the Columbus College of Art and Design where she has taught classes such as fashion design, fashion illustration, fashion upcycling/sustainability, fine arts, and interdisciplinary creative workshops. Currently, the majority of her work is independent while teaching part-time.

The Galleria is located in the Campus Community Center that is part of Johnston Hall on the Miami University Middletown campus, 4200 N. University Boulevard, in Middletown.