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Art and Visual Culture Faculty and Staff

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Office Support Staff

Graduate Coordinator




Chris Martin

Professor, Art and Visual Culture (Furniture)
Professor, Sustainable Environments

Mailing Address

Art and Visual Culture Department
158 College of Design
Ames, IA, 50011

Contact Information

Phone: (515) 294-1639
Office: 089 Design


1994 - MFA, Rhode Island School of Design
1990 - BFA, Iowa State University

On the Web

Research Interests

Although my drive for creative expression through the design and production of furniture forms continues, my research focus has changed and expanded.

From June 2008- July 2010 my wife and I served as US Peace Corps volunteers, teaching arts in a rural village in Ghana, West Africa. This proved to be a life changing experience. After encountering seemingly infinite variations of development models and seeing which worked & which ones did not, I have gained an interest in issues of sustainable development. More specifically, I am interested in what artists and designers roles can be in sustainable development and how cross-disciplinary collaborations can serve to advance honest and effective sustainable development.

I also hope to continue to investigate Ghanaian indigenous arts & crafts, and the craft village tradition there. I want to focus on the history and specifically current and past production processes. My goal is to understand and document these various unique techniques. In regards to sustainable development, I hope that this will Ghanaian artisans in promoting their craft as well as preserving these unique arts for posterity.

Current Projects

Exploring the potential of working with a kente weaving group in Ghana to develop a cloth using Africa sourced organic cotton & natural dyes, in essence returning the weaving processes back to how it used to be done but utilizing contemporary designs.

Producing furniture prototypes that incorporate elements produced by artisans in Ghana & India. Developing a business of limited production furniture working with these artisans.

Continue developing  study abroad program in Ghana & an exchange program with KNUST in Ghana.