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Greensburg Art Center starts its next display and installment of ‘Picture This’ series

Eileen Yeager makes a note of any herbs or spices she comes across in a cookbook, so she can investigate them later.

Eileen Yeager makes a note of herbs and spices mentioned in cookbooks to explore later.

Yeager, 75, of Murrysville, not only wants to expand her cooking skills but also uses her knowledge of herbs and spices to create artwork on exhibit at the Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library.

The Greensburg Art Center is unveiling its second exhibit this month, called “World of Herbs,” following the “Fusion of Six” display by six artists.

Yeager’s display is part of the art center’s regular “Picture This” series at the library. It will be open to the public until April 27.

Yeager is knowledgeable about the topic, knowing that Scottish cuisine often includes ginger, tarragon, and traditional French herbs. Polish recipes commonly call for flat Italian parsley, she has learned from various cookbooks.

“The curly stuff just doesn’t cut it,” Yeager commented.

Since 1994, she has been researching herbs and spices from various countries, visiting herb gardens in Australia, the British Isles, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico to observe the plants in their natural settings.

Her artwork frequently includes the actual plants. Yeager collects herbs and spices native to a specific country, arranges them in a bouquet, covers it in ink, assigning a color from the country’s flag to each plant, and then transfers the design to paper.

“There are dominant herbs that seem to be used in the cooking of each country,” she remarked. “It’s fascinating how each country differs.”

She has also crafted bouquets from spice mixes like pumpkin pie spice and chili powder. Yeager has even ventured into quilting, etching bouquets onto fabric.

Her display will feature around 30 pieces divided into four main categories — European, Mediterranean, Asian, and American.

“Her work is exceptional,” stated Rose Sovyak, chairperson of the art center. “It reflects extensive research and talent in her use of (herbs and spices).”

For Yeager, it’s all about the history of the plants.

“How did this (herb or spice) get there? Why did they start to love it? And why do they use it and why did they stop using it? I guess just questions about everything,” she expressed.

Yeager is one of 12 siblings raised by a “Betty Crocker mom,” she mentioned. Her research has helped her discover different cooking styles, including the favorite recipes of her Croatian mother-in-law that she did not experience growing up.

“Each country has a unique flavor profile,” she remarked. “It’s always interesting.”

“Fusion of Six”

The art center, located in Hempfield, is also displaying pottery, stained glass, woodwork, resin, watercolor, and oil and acrylic paintings created by six of its members.

The “Fusion of Six” exhibit, featuring works by artists Tami Krusper, Patty Frye, Georgetta Osorio, Mary Yeager, and siblings Alli and Will Vega, had an opening reception on March 10 and will be at the art center until April 12.

Each artist is presenting 12 to 15 pieces of various mediums, said Mary Yeager, who is not related to Eileen Yeager.

Mary Yeager, 64, from Scottdale, explained that the event is called 'Fusion' because it features a wide range of styles and products.

She mentioned that most of the items, including her own oil paintings, pottery, and stained glass pieces, are available for purchase.

Five years ago, Mary Yeager and Krusper, 63, from Jeannette, organized an exhibit at the Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library. In 2021 and 2022, they worked with Will Vega, 43, from Hempfield, and Alli Vega, 36, from Forward, to arrange shows at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center.

This is the first year that they have collaborated with Frye, 67, from Jeannette, and Osorio, 77, from Murrysville.

Krusper is presenting watercolor paintings, jewelry, magnets, and cards, while Frye is showcasing her acrylic paintings and pencil drawings.

Osorio's acrylic paintings are also on display. Alli Vega and Osorio made resin pieces for the exhibit, and Will Vega created oil and acrylic paintings and woodwork.

Sovyak expressed admiration for the six artists, saying, “They're just amazing. Every time I look at things, I wonder how people get so inspired and take their imaginations and put them in reality. It's just beautiful stuff.”

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