“My passion for weaving started while attending  California State Teachers College,( now California University of Pennsylvania) Initially, I wanted to be a teacher. I took a fiber class as an elective and it ended up being a life altering change. I always had the heart of an artist and I knew that I wanted to work for myself like many members of my family. In the end,  art and education seemed to be my calling. That was a decision made 40 years ago and I haven't looked back.”

LaVerne Kemp

Today, LaVerne’s award winning textiles have become iconic in Pittsburgh’s fiber arts community.  She’s known as an amazingly talented artist  with a long history of quality art making. Her powerful artwork  draws the viewer in through her adventurous use of color, pattern, motion and meaning. Over the years, LaVerne’s work has evolved from incredible  woven clothing to include jewelry, greeting cards,  wall hanging, sculptural dolls and home goods.

She explores and incorporates on and off loom weaving, hand made felt, traditional and Japanese Shibori dying techniques and beading to enhance her work.

Her work has been exhibited extensively across the US and featured multiple times in the Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Competition  and Exhibition in Dallas and has multiple awards from The African American Art Exhibition at Actors Theater in Louisville.

Recently LaVerne participated in the Smithsonian Museums "Craft Optimism" and  "Future Vision" at the Carnegie Museum of Art for Women of Visions  40 year anniversary

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Rooted by Blood, The Journey of Ono and Hattie Bell
The name ONO means to open and that is exactly what Ono Kemp did when he traveled from Virginia to Reising Hollow in Cecil Pa He made this journey in the early 1900.s in an effort to make a better life for himself and his only son, Arthur. By doing this he opened the passage for our blood line After arriving in Pittsburgh he met and married Hattie Bell Perkins who had made her way to Reising from Virginia earlier with her 4 children from a previous marriage. Their union resulted in 10 more children being born….. my Grandma Ethel, and great aunts and uncles.

This piece of artwork is the result of stealing a beautiful family reunion photograph out of my fathers dresser thirty two years ago when I was 16 years old. I loved to look at the picture of my father as a young boy but I didn’t really recognize any of the others, I just knew we were connected by blood. This exhibit has taken me on a journey of my own to discover my roots and how we came to rest in Reising Hollow.

"Rooted by Blood, The Journey of Ono and Hattie Bell"