Trude Guermonprez is one of the most important figures of the 20th-century fiber art movement. Yet, her name is relatively unknown. A talented weaver and profoundly influential educator, she is perhaps better known through the careers of her former students. Though largely omitted from art historical discourse, Trude Guermonprez played a significant role in the American craft and fiber art movements of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, particularly during her tenure at the California College of Arts and Crafts.
This thesis aims to elucidate Trude Guermonprez’s pivotal and pioneering role in the advancement of American fiber art in the 20th century. Guermonprez made significant artistic contributions as a weaver and a teacher, and her influence has endured generations beyond her lifetime. This research specifically examines the way in which her technical, pragmatic Bauhaus approach to weaving evolved into a freer, poetic and personal expression of the fiber medium. Through a technical and conceptual analysis and interpretation of specific works, this paper demonstrates Guermonprez’s impressive mastery of complicated weave structures and the way in which such dexterity allowed for an elegant expression of complex ideas.
This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, Inc.