Fiber arts created by three local women will be displayed in three regional galleries between now and November.

The exhibit “From Practical to Beautiful: Fiber as Art,” features works by Tracy Burns, Gayle Seibert and Susan Yanos. 

Burns creates hooked rugs; Siebert is a weaver who adds felted components to some of her pieces; and Yanos designs and sews art quilts.

The exhibit opens Friday, April 14, at Connersville’s Whitewater Valley Arts Association, 402 Central Ave., Connersville, with a reception from 6-8 that night. It closes May 6. 

The show then emerges from Aug. 13-Sept. 14 at New Castle’s Henry County Art Gallery, and from Nov. 6-Dec. 14 at Hartford City’s Blackford County Art Gallery.

The artists say that working with fiber was one of the few creative outlets open to women of previous generations, and it’s now being recognized as an artistic medium, surging in popularity and prestige in recent years.

“Volution” by Tracy Burns. Supplied

Burns, who lives in southwestern Wayne County, started rug hooking after a visit to the Indiana State Fair nearly 25 years ago.

Since then, her work has been seen in locations such as the Indiana Statehouse, the Indiana State Fair, international rug shows, artisan publications and Richmond Art Museum.

Burns makes 85% of her work from recycled garments, using linen and 100% wool fabric. She uses a crochet-style hook with a handle and pulls fabric strips through the pattern she’s drawn onto linen.

“Snow Drop Emperors II by Gayle Siebert will be in a new fiber arts exhibit. Supplied photo

Siebert, of Connersville, enjoys weaving various materials, colors, and textures into a variety of patterns and designs. Her specialties include infinity shawls, accent rugs, scarves, placemats, and tapestry wall hangings.   

She has been weaving and designing in fiber for more than 50 years, becoming inspired after taking a weaving course at Ball State University. She taught elementary art for 32 years.

Siebert’s work has won many awards, including Best of Show in Fiber at both the Talbot Street Art Fair in Indianapolis and the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in several juried shows such as Penrod, Chautauqua (Madison and Columbus, Indiana) and Hueston Woods in Oxford, Ohio.

Yanos, who lives in rural Cambridge City, did not discover quilting until midlife. 

Although she had been sewing for decades, it wasn’t until she saw a wall quilt in a fabric store that she realized just how versatile quilts could be.  After several years of making traditional quilt designs, she took a course at a fiber arts school in Wisconsin and created her first art quilt in 2018.

She has won awards including Best of Show several times, and has been accepted in juried shows. Her work has been seen at venues such as Richmond, New Castle and Connersville arts centers and the Wayne County Extension Homemakers’ Quilt Show.

In addition to developing her visual arts skills, Yanos also has been a professor of writing and literature, a book author and a freelance editor.

When, where to go

The first display is in Connersville’s Whitewater Valley Art Gallery, April 14 – May 6, with an opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 14.

It moves to New Castle’s Henry County Art Gallery from Aug. 13-Sept. 14, with a reception from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 13. The final display is in Hartford City’s Blackford County Art Gallery, Nov. 6-Dec. 14, with a Nov. 12 reception.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 12 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.