With intensive self-study and experimentation for many years, Trudy now divides her attention between two diverse areas of craft. Originally she was a fiber artist and weaver. She attended classes at Rochester Institute of Technology in the early seventies and has been to the Penland School of Crafts three times to study fiber structures, hand dyeing, painting and marbling fabric, as well as mixing metals with glass. Themes she explored in fiber arts are now reflected in fused glass. The possibilities for patterns and figures sustain that interest; this medium enables her to work with bolder, brighter and more detailed designs.
One usually asks of an artist, “Where does your inspiration come from?” My response: I am drawn to rhythms and patterns found in the natural environment. This appears in many forms: the ripples and waves of water, the effects created by the ebb and flow of surf on sand, the wispy appearance of fire, the swirls of clouds, the flutter of leaves on trees, the multifaceted shapes of buds and flowers, the feathered wings of birds.
I am also attracted by a wide array of distinctive forms created by man — including architecture and other repetitive forms. I agree with Levi-Straus — an anthropologist who expressed his viewpoint of art in a unique way. He felt that art and its accompanying myths have no unique authors; art just occurs and is transmitted over generations and from tribe to tribe. I too, also feel that the shapes and “scapes” used in my imagery are derived from an unconscious source. I cannot help but explore relationships, that occur with purpose or with whimsy in my work.
Other observations? My work is inspired by nature in both form and process. There is a co-dependence on earth, water, and fire.
My fiber work also results from the use of organic materials born of the earth. Threads for fabric are spun from silk worms, grown from cotton, or sheared from sheep. My dyes and paintings on silk have a translucent quality. In my hand-dyed silk the resist serves to distinctly outline each shape; while the imagery of the marbled pieces is more diffuse. These marbled works appear more organic and result from manipulating colors of paint dropped on a viscous surface; the resistance of water allows patterns to emerge; repeatedly dying one panel results in cross currents of color and form.
My fused glass work is made from earth elements; silica is the basics of glass. There is an association with fire, because articles are fused at high temperature. The glass is a hard medium, but the light that passes through the layers can be soft and diffused — enriching the visual experience. My glass work contains many faceted cut pieces of glass, carefully constructed, frequently with many layers.
Collaboration with Ed Ralston
Trudy collaborates with her partner, Ed Ralston, and together they develop tools and refine processes needed to execute their crafts. Ed applies his skills as a craftsman to combining different media, including glass, wood, and copper. Ed creates and assembles bases and armatures for glass, as well as brackets for wall hangings as well as frames for my tapestry and marbled art like nothing anyone has even seen. Ed has been active in woodworking for 20 years, creating custom cabinetry and applications for fine home building.