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  • Maggie Courtis


by Donald Munro

April 4, 2024

We all know the rule: Don’t touch the art. But for fiber artist Trudy Perry, whose new exhibition is featured at Scarab Creative Arts in a highlight of April’s ArtHop, she offers a loophole. “I even have a small piece for everyone to touch because it is so tempting to touch my art,” she says.

Perry, who lives in Topanga, shows her work in Fresno for the first time on Thursday, April 4, as part of ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios in the downtown and Tower District neighborhoods. Most venues are open 5-8 p.m. Check the Fresno Arts Council’s roundup for a detailed list.

The show is titled “Bountiful: Weaving the Natural World.” The artist uses  natural fibers, strings, and rope to mirror the juxtaposition of shapes and forms. Through this deliberate choice of materials, “the work accentuates the subtle nuances that link the entirety of the natural world.” There are 25 featured pieces.

I caught up with Perry earlier this week to ask a few questions. “I appreciate what a thriving art community you have here in Fresno,” she told me.

Trudy Perry with soft sculpture

Q: How did you get connected with Scarab Creative Gallery? 

A: I met the owner, Maggie Courtis, at the end of 2022 at Fresno Fiber Arts Guild. She gave me a tour of her beautiful gallery and I was invited to get on the Calendar. I have never shown in Fresno before; however, I am from Gustine and been to Fresno many times growing up.

Q: Can you single out one piece in the show and tell us about it in detail?

A: The piece called “Cloudy Days.” This is “off” the loom, meaning it is freestyle and doesn’t have the confines of a traditional loom. It also had some fun techniques like felting and working with string to create more texture. I have fun with these and definitely more like a Soft Sculpture. I use Roving for the materials. Roving is carded wool from sheep that they use to spin into yarn, so the raw form. It takes me days to do these because I don’t use a pattern and I freestyle it. I use my intuition to guide me and sometimes it takes a while to get it just right. I do a lot of different techniques within my work; however ,I like the freedom of “off the loom.” I have a few pieces in the show that are a similar style.

Q: How did you get involved in making fiber art?

A: I have a textile and design background and have always loved working with fiber since I was a little girl. I stepped away for a long time. Then in 2016 I took a trip to India and was inspired by a man working on a loom creating a wall piece, so when I returned I ordered a loom and started creating Wall Art.

Q: You’re interested in large-scale work. What is the biggest piece you’ve ever worked on?

A: Good question. I think my biggest would be; I had to create three 6ft x 8ft Wall Hangings for a Wellness Retreat. It was for a 32′ stage and I connected them upon installation.

Q: Some people don’t realize that fiber artists are just as accomplished and serious as painters, sculptors, etc. How do you educate the public (and perhaps your potential buyers) on what it is that you do? What do you say to people who want to think of it as a craft? (Or do you care if they do?)

A: Fiber Arts has made a big comeback and is now being more acknowledged as fine art. I just say “Fiber is the new Painting.” Also, I have changed my title to Soft Sculpture because this is more representative of what I do.

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