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UK Donovan Scholar Who Graduated
Works With Silk

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Carol Fowler with "Autumn Leaves"
Carol Fowler

One of her works, Autumn Leaves, dramatically resembles a collection of falling leaves. Fowler said she uses an artistic process of putting dyes on silk called “no flow resist.” She places the dyes on the silk and lets it dry for 24 hours. Then she steams the cloth and then rinses it.

 

May 14, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Carol Fowler, a 66-year-old Donovan Scholar who graduated from the University of Kentucky Saturday, is very fond of silk – not necessarily for garments, but as a medium for her art.

Fowler worked at UK for eight years as assistant to the director of graduate studies in the UK Department of Biochemistry where she was considered “Mom” to 30 graduate students. She said she always knew she would be a Donovan Scholar at UK when she became eligible. She retired three years ago and immediately enrolled as a Donovan Scholar. (All Kentuckians may take classes free at the University of Kentucky as Donovan Scholars after they reach age 65.)

“Actually,” she remembers, “I was recruited by Arleen Johnson, director of the Donovan Scholars program who kept reminding her, ‘Now remember, when you get to be 65….’” Johnson and Fowler met when they were working together in a blood pressure study in the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

She also gives her husband, Bill, considerable credit for her success as a Donovan Scholar. “He has just been a blessing,” she noted. “He is my biggest fan and supporter and has been very understanding about all the time, including weekends, I have put in on earning my art degree.”

One of her works, Autumn Leaves, dramatically resembles a collection of falling leaves. Fowler said she uses an artistic process of putting dyes on silk called “no flow resist.” She places the dyes on the silk and lets it dry for 24 hours. Then she steams the cloth and then rinses it.

Fowler said she was taught patience in dealing with the dyes by her professors including internationally known UK fiber artist Arturo Sandoval. “Silk will do its own thing,” she said. You just work with what the silk gives you.” She has also developed a process of “framing” the artworks with a color-dyed border around the artwork itself.

Fowler said Sandoval was “very encouraging” in his work with her. “Age did not matter to him, you were just a student,” she recalls. She added that one of the harder things to accomplish as a Donovan Scholars was fulfilling UK’s language requirement. She took Spanish. “The only way I got through was through the excellent work of a wonderful teaching assistant and a tutor.”
For more information about the Donovan Scholars program, go to the Web site.


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