DIAMOND — When Eulanda Sanders started crocheting and sewing at age 8, little did she know that it would lead to an interest in textiles many years later.

DIAMOND — When Eulanda Sanders started crocheting and sewing at age 8, little did she know that it would lead to an interest in textiles many years later.

On Saturday, Sanders, now a professor in textiles and clothing, apparel, events and hospitality management at Iowa State University, was one of the guest speakers during the 72nd annual Carver Day at the George Washington Carver National Monument.

“I am talking about his (Carver’s) work in the textile artist. There has not been much research on his work (in textiles),” she said. “People know him as an agriculturalist, and some recognize him as a painter, but he also has an extensive amount of work in areas of textiles, which he created and tested natural dyes. Then he also did some weaving, embroidery work, basket work and crochet work.

“Today, I am going to focus on his work as a crocheter, because he was prolific as a crocheter, for one, and the techniques that he used for were varied and quite technically difficult techniques that he used.”

Carver, who was born about 1864 and grew up on the Moses Carver Farm near Diamond, later left the farm, went to school in Neosho and later to college.

“He was the first African-American student at Iowa State and the first one to graduate,” Sanders said. “He also taught there too, and he was the first African-American to teach there.”

The life of Carver isn’t a new interest for Sanders.

“My father was the state director for the farm service agency in Colorado,” she said. “He always spoke about George Washington Carver and his contributions to agriculture. I always grew up with that.”

For the majority of her life, Sanders lived in Colorado. Three years ago, she took the position at Iowa State.

“One of the first conversations that I had when I moved there was to talk about Carver, his impact on agriculture and Iowa State,” she said. “Being there at Iowa State, it was just a natural progression for me to learn more about him. I was working with some of my graduate students (and) I asked them to do some research into his paintings. That is when I discovered more of his work in the textiles area.”

Carver was a wonderful example of a life learner, according to Sanders.

“He had an inquisitive mind that was seeking knowledge of a variety of things,” she said. “As an educator myself, it is just thrilling to see how someone seeks knowledge in the variety areas and how they also integrate into who he was in his work and the inner weavings of his work as a scientist and his work as a textile artist.”

When asked what she hopes to see the audience take away from her presentation, Sanders mentioned knowledge and appreciation of Carver’s work with textiles.

“Often times, we hear a mention of his work either in print or conversation as a textile,” she said. “Crocheting is very math oriented. Having a scientist do work like this is not a huge stretch at all. I am hoping that people will make those connections and also appreciate his work as a textile person.”

Carver, who died Jan. 5, 1943, became famous later in life when he studied plants, flowers and invented several uses for the common peanut. Six months after he died, Congress designated the George Washington Carver National Monument, which was the first park to honor an African-American scientist, educator and humanitarian.

Carver Day also had hands-on activities for visitors, including painting with natural dyes and washing laundry with a washboard and lye soap.

“Using the washboard, it is more of a support for the laundry so that the soap can actually get on the laundry,” said Rikki Worm, 11, of Monett. She is one of the monument’s junior rangers.

Rikki demonstrated by washing clothing and transfer it to another washtub with bluing.

“Bluing is pretty much like bleach,” she said. “You put it (laundry) in and then dunk it back in here (the other washtub) so we can get all of the bluing off. George Washington Carver had to do this (laundry) in one of these creeks. That took a little bit more time because he had a little bit more laundry to do and the bluing, I bet, was a little bit harder.”

Carver Day is the longest-running event at the monument.