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Alumna Receives Fulbright Grant

Sarah Schlosser, ’17, is traveling to India to work with craftspeople in order to develop a better understanding and document traditional methods of natural dyeing textiles. This experience is a result of Sarah receiving a prestigious Fulbright Study/Research grant that will support her research in Book Arts. Sarah earned her B.F.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in Print Media and Photography from the School of Art in 2017 and is currently an M.F.A. candidate in Book Studies at the University of Iowa.

Sarah will be working with the Kumarappa Institute of Hand Paper Making to develop a series of best practices for naturally dyeing handmade paper with respect to cultural tradition. The Fulbright grant will provide support while she studies overseas for eight months. Throughout this time, she will document traditional dyeing practices and learn techniques by working alongside experts in the craft. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think.

Her interest in natural dyes began with a print exchange in which she had no access to a printing press and instead created handmade paper dyed with turmeric. This project ignited a deep interest in the technique, which evolved into focused research and practice. But during the past three years of studying natural dyes, she ran into some road blocks in her research. 

“I quickly realized Western research omitted the expertise of traditional artisans and it has led to some discrepancies in the published research. After a few semesters hitting this frustrating wall, I decided to apply for a Fulbright Fellowship to work directly with craftspeople and document their story," said Sarah. The colors that natural dyes create are stunning and I am so excited to learn more.”

To better support her research, Sarah also earned a 2021 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for a summer virtual intensive language and cultural program in Hindi. The CLS scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is intended to help broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages while building relationships between people of the United States and other countries. Schlosser wants to study Hindi to learn the language of the people who perfected the craft. 


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