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Carol Fleming '79

February 22, 2019

Carol Fleming '79 was featured in the Spring 2019 issue of County Living magazine, in a profile by Gerry Mandel titled "Art That Springs from the Earth. And Her Hands": "The Grant Trail begins in Oakland, a St. Louis suburb wedged between Kirkwood, Glendale and Webster Groves. That’s where my bike rides usually begin and where I first saw a sculpture by Carol Fleming. A huge acorn almost as tall as my bike, it impressed me with its colors, textures and craftsmanship, a work of art in a small public park. When I visited Carol recently in her cathedral-like studio in Ladue, I realized she is more than a sculptor. She is a poet, a composer, a missionary, and an explorer. She imbues her work with a deep and transcendent meaning, as though she were connected to nature or some higher power. Her mantra is, 'Molder of clay, molded by God.' She finds her inspiration in various aspects of nature, transforming large blocks of clay into distinctive and personal expressions designed to fit comfortably into their surroundings. Carol was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, but her family soon learned she was deaf. They moved to St. Louis so she could attend the Central Institute for the Deaf. Her world became visual. Which is why she became a sculptor. Her father, an architect, and her mother provided unrelenting support from the beginning. She began sculpturing when she was ten, fascinated by textures, shapes, and colors found in nature. The year 1995 was a pivotal year for her. It included marriage, adjusting to an established family, the passing of her mother, remodeling an old home with her husband, Larry, and building a new studio. A few words about her studio: Designed by architect Tyler Stevens, a cathedral ceiling provides inspiration while allowing super-heated air from her gas-fired Bailey kiln to rise. Large doors permit easy entry for custom-mixed stoneware. The studio sits on a wooded lot next to her home. Carol says, 'Creating is the best and deepest part of me, the true voice of my inner, God-given personality. I take great delight in shouldering my way through the clay, my "blank canvas" which speaks for me.' And what a canvas it is! Her sculptures contain a power and life of their own. They seem to spring from the earth itself. She calls them 'positive images and uplifting messages of beauty.'"