Artist and printmaker
High-quality homewares and one-off original solarplate etchings inspired by a profound love of nature and the abundant palette provided by Australia’s flora and fauna.
“How wonderful that Trudy’s work uses the sun and water of the Australian landscape to create her multi-layered works. The elements are integral to her art, which captures a real sense of place.”TARA AXFORD Art director, Good Weekend magazine
She has been a busker in London and a fashion model in Australia, so how did Trudy Rice end up making her unique artworks and homewares?
What was the trigger for you to start making art?
Gosh, busking in London seems a world away! I’ve always done a little drawing, and my husband, Andrew, saw some of these and encouraged me to do more by buying me an easel and paints for my birthday more than 10 years ago. My modelling career spanned some 20 years and was a feast of texture and colour. I’ve worked with some very high-profile designers and models, and was fascinated by their incredible talent, and this has informed my artwork in many ways.
What is solarplate etching, and what attracted you to this method?
Solarplate etching is a relatively new printing process. About 30 years ago, American artist Dan Welden discovered he could use his drawings to create multiple prints by exposing them to a photopolymer plate using UV rays. I first draw my images, then expose them to a photopolymer plate in the Australian sun – our high UV levels are great for this process. Then I wash out the image, which allows me to push ink into the lines. Then each plate is run separately through my printing press onto dampened paper, which creates the prints you see in my work.
Which artists or genres do you most relate to?
I love a variety of styles of art and artists; it all inspires in one form or another. Some of my favourites are John Worsley, Belinda Fox, Judy Watson, Arthur Boyd, Gustav Klimt and, of course, the Impressionists Monet and Cezanne to name a few. I remember going to Paris and visiting the Monet paintings at the Musee d’Orsay. Having looked at them in books for so long, seeing them in the flesh made me cry with pure joy.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find nature fascinating. There is so much richness in our environment, and I love to capture small parts of it to bring home. I live near a park in central Melbourne and find when I walk my dog I often see something like a leaf on a tree that motivates me. I do spend a lot of time down in the Otway Ranges on the Great Ocean Road, which provides endless inspiration, just walking in the bush and along the beach, or sitting quietly watching the birds fly overhead.
What led you to start working in textiles?
I believe working up close with talented fashion designers has afforded me an enjoyment of texture and colour. There are some wonderful fabrics available. I always try to choose my textiles in a way that is fitting to my artwork and as sustainable for the environment as possible. I love that my passion for our environment is not only a piece of art but can be turned into a usable piece that my clients will enjoy in their home for many years.
Where do you work and how do you manage the manufacturing processes?
My homewares are all made locally here in Melbourne. It’s tough to manufacture in Australia, and it would be cheaper to have them made in, say, China or India. However, I love that I can go locally to see the printing, feel the fabrics and make sure that every piece has the quality I expect.
How or where do you see your work developing?
I love to make art and I love designing. I’ve just started to collaborate with a card company here in Australia with three of my designs, which means a wider audience will see my work. I’d like to continue to make original works of art – this is my passion. However, sending out my art and design on accessible items gives my work a new life.read less