Riana Bovill attended Elmira College in New York where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in ceramics, painting, and furniture design. Years later she started to experiment with textiles and created her first appliqué portraits. With this body of work she participated in numerous curated and juried exhibitions including Fiberart International 2016, and New Waves 2015 at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
In 2020, Riana earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she started experimenting with different processes within the realm of fibers. She learned hand-papermaking, bookbinding, basketry, and shibori dyeing; and realized that what she really wanted to do was to tell stories. So, Riana embarked on a new body of work and began writing short stories—and used handmade costumes and puppets, performances, artists’ books, and sculptures to present these narratives. While she still employed traditional quilting, embroidery, and appliqué techniques in her work, she absolutely loved the new and exciting direction of her studio practice.
Riana now embraces an interdisciplinary approach to making art, and her work engages the senses through an exploration of materials, texture, color, and sound. Much of her recent artwork draws inspiration from being immersed in nature, and she can often be found in the forest foraging natural materials for handmade paper, dyeing, and inkmaking; or processing agricultural byproducts to collect fiber for her latest artists’ book. Riana has been awarded residencies and participated in workshops at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Penland School of Craft; and was an artist-in-residence at Elmira College during the 2021-2022 academic year. At Elmira she shared her passion for natural fibers processes and bookmaking through workshops and demonstrations, and helped to create a dynamic and positive learning environment in the art studios.