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Public Building Commission
Current Artist

January - March, 2017
County-City First Floor Exhibition Gallery
555 South 10th Street, Lincoln, NE
Gallery Hours - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

Nebraska Inspirations ~ Color and Cloth by Shelly Burge

As a native Nebraskan, Shelly Burge is often influenced by the rural landscape near her home. Shelly began quilting in the 1970's as a traditional quilt maker and her work has evolved through the years. Currently, Shelly's quilts often contain fabrics she created herself using techniques such as fabric dyeing, painting, Shibori, and resist dyeing. One of her favorite techniques is snow dyeing and when snow is not available she substitutes ice cubes. The patterns these techniques create on the fabric are often the inspiration for the art quilts she produces.

Artist Statement

My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young; I believe she instilled in me the love of creating beautiful things with fiber. After developing an interest in traditional quilt making it wasn't long before I started doing original work. My interest in art quilting was inspired by memories, nature, emotions, and opinions.

Fabrics and fibers are the medium which bring my ideas to life! I find that using dyes, paints, and resists allows me to create one-of-a-kind patterns on fabric. I love the spontaneity of taking a piece of plain white fabric, turning it into something full of color and texture, and then cutting it up! I hope I can honor the traditions of quilt making while continuing to add to its future.


Shelly Burge learned to sew on a hand crank toy sewing machine when she was four years old. She has been making quilts for over forty years and is known nationally and internationally for her work and for the quilt classes she teaches. Her work has received prestigious honors in art and quilt competitions across the country; in addition, Shelly has exhibited in Japan, Russia, Germany, France and the Netherlands. She is the author of two books on quilting plus her articles and quilts have been featured in numerous books and magazines.

Shelly was named the 1994 Woman Artist of the Year by the Lincoln/Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women. Her quilt was selected as Best of Show at the 1997 Fred Wells National All-Media Art Exhibit. She had two pieces included in the Lincoln Star Art Public Art Project (2006); one was named the Mayor's Choice. In 2007 her fiber pieces were included in the "Textiles as Art" display at the So-Oh Art Gallery and there was a solo display of her work at the Spring Creek Audubon Center. In 2008 her entry was selected as a winner in the Crafting a Better Planet quilt contest and was displayed at the International Quilt Study Center.

Shelly was one of the founders of the Nebraska State Quilt Guild and in 2009 she was inducted into the Nebraska Quilters Hall of Fame. Her work is included in public and private collections including the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. Her quilt, Crane River Morning is on permanent public display in the Hardin Center at the University of Nebraska. A wall quilt she designed and helped to produce is on permanent display at the Nebraska governor's mansion.

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