Sculptor Suzi Trubitz trusts her intuition, creative process

Ladies of the Valley

By Robbie Kaye

Suzi Trubitz moved to the Santa Ynez Valley from Longboat Key, Fla., about 15 years ago. She spent many years sailing until her desire for a ranch and horses brought her to the valley.

Suzi Trubitz lives and creates metal sculptures with intense conviction and freedom.

Intricate metal work and meaning are interwoven in her pieces. Each one is not only gorgeous but it has its own beautiful narrative. One can see that her work is an extension of who she is — wise, authentic, strong and beautiful.

She has a heart of gold, and she opens it and her art to all.  She is a big supporter of Tales from the Tavern and volunteers regularly.

Can you tell us about some places you have sailed to?

One of our more interesting trips was to Cuba about 20 years ago. It was like seeing a country go to ruins before your own eyes. The Cuban police would check our vessel a few times a day to see if anyone was trying to escape out of the country! They were not concerned with anything else but stowaways.

What did you do before you started working with metal? 

Art director, typographer, graphic designer, business woman.

What attracted you to that medium? 

I just remember thinking when I saw a metal sculpture, I can do that! And I started working with scrap metal very shortly after that.

Was it difficult to get started?  

I just got some old sheet metal and asked a shade-tree mechanic I knew to teach me how to torch and weld. … It was pretty rough in the beginning, but after almost 30 years one gets better at those skills.

Did you have a lot of support getting into that medium? 

My family has always supported me, but where we lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, there were no other female metal workers that I knew.

As a woman, did the art world welcome you easily? 

It was always a surprise to that world that a woman was the sculptor of a stainless steel sculpture even though I knew there had been women working with wood, metal and other materials for years!

Is it difficult combining metal with glass to create some of your pieces?  

It depends if I have to cut the glass to fit the metal or the metal to fit the glass. If the glass is on the metal, the adhesive is very important, and there are a lot of different choices.

Did you ever burn or injure yourself creating a piece? 

Yes, most every time in one way or another.

What is one of your favorite pieces that you created? 

It’s called ‘Memories.’

Can you tell us a little something about it? 

I created it after my mother died. She used to collect lace handkerchiefs, so I wanted to make a piece of stainless steel look like the lace hankies she used to carry.

How do you decide what to create? What is your process? 

There is always an idea that comes to me, then I have to decide how to portray that idea. It could take a month or years to come to fruition.

What is the longest a piece ever took to complete?

I have created a series of pieces based on women’s lives. Those sculptures sometimes take me a few years to complete, not so much because of the physical labor but because I want to represent my sentiments exactly, so it takes quite a bit of thought.

Are there meanings behind the work you create? 

Yes, a theme, or nature or how to do something in steel that I haven’t seen before. Sometimes it’s emotional. I want to convey a feeling, but it’s not so direct. You, the viewer, might never connect my ideas with what you are seeing. I also like to hide a little something in each piece, that only I know about.

What inspires your creativity?

An idea or a concept, maybe a poem or a song that I’ve heard that inspires me. I also love typography, which is the style and shapes letters, and I often incorporate some words in pieces.

What are some of your favorite things to do in the valley?  

Hobbies? I hike, exercise, volunteer and spend lots of time with my friends and pets.

Where can people see your work? 

At my studio on my property, at Cottage Hospital and in homes of many collectors all over this country and Europe.

Where can they buy your work? 

Only from me at the moment.

The best way to reach Suzi is at, where you can also see more of her incredibly beautiful work.

Photographer Robbie Kaye is the author of “Beauty and Wisdom” and the “Ladies of the Valley” documentary. Her photography, paintings and design work can be seen at