Lemont Center for the Arts

To enrich the cultural landscape of Lemont by fostering the production and appreciation of the arts.

Betty Burian Kirk – Local Artist Feature

Starting this year, we will be featuring local artists on our blog. To be featured, please contact us. We are pleased to have local fiber artist Betty Burian Kirk as our very first featured artist. Thanks, Betty!

Betty Burian Kirk lives in Lemont, IL. She received a BS Ed and a MA Ed from Northern Illinois University in art education with an emphasis in fiber. She continues her studies under nationally known felters, weavers and spinners at places like Arrowmont School, John C. Campbell Folk School, Midwest Felting Symposium and other conferences.

Felt hat, teal shag by Betty Kirk - photo by Jim Kirk

Felt hat, teal shag by Betty Kirk – photo by Jim Kirk


http://www.bbkirk.com has information on Betty’s show and teaching schedules as well as information on custom spinning, spinning of dog hair and educational programs that she presents. A gallery of some of her artwork is also viewable on this site.

Fiber is her medium. She creates art and teaches: weaving, spinning, felting, ribbon flowers and kumihimo. She also teaches classes on design, color theory, book binding and classes for children.

Artist Statement
Exploring the tactile sense of fibers, I sculpt hats from my handmade wool felt. Color plays a pinnacle roll for me when designing and weaving scarves. My goal is to design and create lovely and unique wearable art for the consumer who appreciates high fashion.

Betty’s Process & Technique

Hand spun dog hair yarn - photo by Hsing Hui Tseng

Hand spun dog hair yarn – photo by Hsing Hui Tseng

Spinning Dog Hair Upon receiving the brushed dog hair, I wash it and lay it out on screens to dry, fluffing it out. Then I card the fiber (aligning the fiber) and spin it. When all the yarn is spun, I take 2 strands together and spin them together to create a 2 ply yarn. The yarn is then skeined and washed. The yarn is then ready for use to be knit, woven etc.

Felting is the process of taking loose fibers and layering them, wetting them down with soap and water and then using pressure, rubbing and rolling to gradually creating an interlacement of fibers and thus creating a fabric or a sculpture piece such as a hat if a resist technique is used.

Pictorial felt purse by Betty Kirk - photo by Betty Kirk

Pictorial felt purse by Betty Kirk – photo by Betty Kirk

Weaving is the process of designing color and/or pattern sequences and then measuring out the yarn (warp) which is then wound onto the back of the loom and each individual yarn is threaded through a heddle on a shaft of the loom. (The average loom has 4 shafts that hold groups of yarns that create the patterns according to the way they are used). Once the threading is complete the yarn is tied onto the front of the loom and the weaving process begins. When the weaving is finished the ends must be dealt with either by twisting fringe or sewing the edge, followed by a hand washing and pressing.

Hand dyed, woven scarf by Betty Kirk - photo by Jim Kirk

Hand dyed, woven scarf by Betty Kirk – photo by Jim Kirk

What types of challenges do you seek in art making?
I try to create unique pieces of work by exploring different processes and expanding my skills.

What inspires you?
Color is my main inspiration and I look to nature, most often flowers.

Where can one view your art in person?
My work can be seen at Illinois Artisan shops in Chicago and southern Illinois, my website and at any show locations listed on my website.

Where/how can one purchase your art?
My work can be purchased at Illinois Artisan shops in Chicago and southern Illinois, at any art shows I am in or by contacting me for a private viewing.

Art in the Park, Park Ridge, IL (Award of Merit)
Art in the Park, Appleton, WI (Honorable Mention)
Best of the Best (Triton College), IL (2nd Place)
Deerfield Festival of Fine Arts, IL (Award of Excellence)
DesPlaines Art Guild, IL (Honorable Mention)
Downers Grove, IL (Award of Excellence)
Glen Ellyn Arts Festival, IL (Award of Honor)
Love of Art, Lemont, IL (Best of Show)
Peoria Art Fair, Peoria, IL (2nd Place)
Teaching engagements
Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Festival, IL 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Wild Fibres, Alberta Canada, 2007
Potomac Craftsman Guild , 2007
Convergence, Grand Rapids, MI 2006
Midwest Weavers’ Conference in Edwardsville, IL, June 2001
Convergence, Cincinnati, OH, June 2000
Midwest Weavers’ Conference in Bloomington, IN, July 1999
Midwest Weavers’ Conference in Milwaukee, June, 1995
Designing with Fiber, Illinois Art Education Association
Introduction to 2 and 3 Dimensional Felting, Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference
Spinning short Fibers, Guest Speaker, Northern Illinois University
T.L.D. Design Center & Gallery
Lemont Cultural Arts Center
Local guilds: DuPage Textile Artist Guild, Weavers Guild South, Illinois Prairie Weavers, Lemont Artists Guild, Downers Grove Artists Guild, West Suburban Artists Guild, Park Ridge Art League

Weavers Guild South
Lemont Artists Guild
Handweavers Guild of America

Betty has upcoming classes – don’t miss the opportunity to learn from a skilled local artist!

Upcoming Presentations
January 24, 2013, Spindle Spinning at Lemont Center for the Arts
January 31, 2013, Friendship Bracelets at Lemont Center for the Arts
February 7, 2013, Felted Bead Necklaces at Lemont Center for the Arts
February 20, 2013, Pictorial Felt, Lemont Artists Guild at Lemont Public Library
March 16, 2013, Needle Felted Birds, Weavers Guild South, at Matteson Public Library
April 3, 2013, Finishing Techniques for Weaving, Woodstock Weavers Guild in Woodstock, Illinois
June 21 & 22, Tassels!, Make Your own Journal!, and Ribbon Flowers, Prairie Winds – Midwest Weavers Conference at Emporia KS

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2013 by in Community, Local Artists and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.