DeGraw, Evelyn

Evelyn
DeGraw
Year Inducted: 
1980
Evelyn DeGraw
Highlights: 
  • Built KU Department of DesignTextile Design program into one of nation’s foremost as Head from 1948-1978
  • Textbook Textile Design in Weaving published in six editions and utilized by weaving students in twenty-two schools across the country
  • Founder and Consultant of Midwest Weavers, which grew from 60 members to 7000 in the 28 years she belonged to it
  • 1940’s Director of Art for Wichita, KS high schools
  • Kansas Representative to the World Congress of Craftsmen for several years
Biography: 

Evelyn DeGraw, Professor of Design at the University of Kansas, was an internationally known textile design weaving educator.  She also taught Bookbinding, Weaving, and Design. 

Professor DeGraw received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 1935 and her Masters degree in 1942, both from the University of Kansas.  During World War II, she served for two years with the Red Cross.  She spent the early part of her career teaching in the elementary and secondary school levels.  From 1930-31 she taught at a rural elementary school in Jackson County, KS and taught in the Holton, KS elementary school from 1931-33.  She was the Director of Art at Wichita High School North from 1935-40, the Art Director for Chanute, KS Public Schools from 1941-43, and the Director of Art from 1945-48 at Wichita East High School.  She returned to KU as an Assistant Professor in 1948 and remained there until her retirement in 1980. 

Professor DeGraw was Head of the Textile Design division in the KU Design Department from 1948-1978; it was she who built the program into one of the foremost in the nation.  Influenced by her vast international experience, the program is one of the most extensive in the United States and has received acclaim both here and abroad.

Her textbook Textile Design in Weaving was published in six editions and utilized by weaving students in twenty-two schools across the country. 

Professor DeGraw was President in 1962 of the Kansas Federation of Art and was also the Kansas Representative to the World Congress of Craftsmen for several years.  She was also the Founder and Consultant of Midwest Weavers, which grew from 60 members to 7000 in the 28 years she belonged to it.  She organized the first five annual conferences of the group in Lawrence.

Her international experience set her apart in the field.  She participated in advanced studies in weaving from Sweden and in ceramics from Finland.  Professor DeGraw spent one summer in Mexico and one in Canada at the Banff School of Fine Arts teaching weaving.   Her extensive list of travel locations include the USA, Mexico, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, Morocco, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Fiji Islands, New Zealand, New Guinea, Australia, Tahiti, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macay.  In 1971 she was invited on a sabbatical to visit the studios of eight Japanese artists designated as “living treasures” by the Japanese government.

Professor DeGraw did not just seek to widen the circle of craftsmen in her field, but she also sought to make art accessible to the public.  She organized many shows and exhibitions, published several monographs and articles for weaving exhibits, often demonstrated at fairs, and even organized an exhibit for Governor Carlin’s Mansion in Topeka in 1979.  


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