Tapestry Topics
A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today
page 14
Spring 2004 Vol 30 No1

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Although she does not credit her heritage as a specific influence in her work, she does cite her mother’s traditional embroidery using woven fabrics and bright colored threads as a possible unconscious force at work in her compelling tapestries. So might the stained glass windows and rich iconography of the Ukrainian church where she has spent many hours have influenced her.

Her work is in the permanent collections of the Illinois State Museum and the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield, Illinois, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago, as well as private residences and several corporate collections. She has had items in ATB 1 and ATB 4.

Lialia Kuchman, Luke and Matthew, 2000, 2001, 96"x96" and 119"x48"
“Grove (My Father’s Orchard)” is another piece that uses intense unblended colors. The three tapestries that make up this triptych created in 1997 use the technique of eccentric weft to create surfaces with uneven tension that undulate to form irregular ridges and valleys. Kuchma wove several pieces in this style and enjoyed making them because they were just about playing with color in a random way. In her words “there was no effort at color harmony – this is the real world – but harmony comes from profusion.” The title of the piece comes from a view of tree trunks in the rain and honors the memory of her father who loved trees and planted many of them.

Kuchma is Ukrainian-born and lives in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. She has a BFA from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After graduation she focused on printmaking and pursued independent studies at the School of the Art Institute. Before making the transition to tapestry weaving in 1975, she also worked on painting and photography projects.

Lialia Kuchma, Grove (My Father's Orchard), 1997, 96"x36", 96"x22", 96"x42"
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