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An Eye for Art: Libby Trostle’s crafts are inspired by a love of lifelong learning

Libby Trostle is a local craftsperson who grew up in the South Carroll area.

Having discovered her love for crafting late in life, Trostle never considered herself a creative person. “I had always thought of myself as a linear thinker, when someone would suggest that I do something creative, I would dismiss the idea,” Trostle explained.

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In her early career, Trostle worked in the financial services industry. “The industry is very black and white. There is not much room for creativity in banking,” Trostle said.

In 2001, Trostle left the financial services industry to work at Carroll Community College in the continuing education and training department. “Working at the college boosted my creative side. I became a huge fan of lifelong learning and I have taken numerous classes since joining the college, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Both programs help me design my crafts today,” Trostle said. She also completed a Workforce Training Certificate program to become a commercial drone pilot, and a digital and social media program where she learned skills that she usesto promote her businesses.

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Trostle takes aerial photographs with her drone. “I consider that another part of my creativity and my art. As an avid camper, I enjoy taking pictures of places we camp and aerial shots of landscapes. A proud moment for me was when a drone photo I took at the 2019 International Airstream Rally in Doswell, Virginia, was featured on Airstream’s website.” The Airstream is an iconic silver travel trailer. Trostle and her husband have been Airstream owners since 2016.

Trostle named her business “Gypsy Crafter,” because her retirement plan is to travel in her Airstream with her husband and sell her crafts at festivals and events in different areas across the country.

Carroll County artist Libby Trostle with a sign she created. It features a quote from Elbert Hubbard, an American artist, writer and philosopher.
Carroll County artist Libby Trostle with a sign she created. It features a quote from Elbert Hubbard, an American artist, writer and philosopher. (Lyndi McNulty/Lyndi McNulty)

Trostle got started in this venture by learning the laser cutter at the Ting Makerspace in Westminster. She had an interest in learning how laser cutters could be used to make works of art by cutting and engraving wood, acrylic, leather and other light materials. She designs her projects on the computer and then the laser cuts the job. Trostle then assembles, paints or finishes the handiwork to achieve the final product. “I can get very creative through all phases of the process,” she adds.

According to the Explorations Commons website “The Ting Makerspace opened in 2016 as part of the Ting/Westminster City fiber network project to support the maker community until Carroll County Public Library’s Exploration Commons was built. The Ting Makerspace officially merged with Exploration Commons on July 1, 2020 and will operate as the preview space for the Exploration Commons’ Makerspace until it opens in 2021. The Exploration Commons Preview Makerspace will continue to serve the maker community and provide access to select equipment and resources during the construction of Exploration Commons (https://explorationcommons.carr.org/preview.asp).

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Trostle specializes in earrings, signs and home décor. As an arts-and-crafts-era furniture and art collector, she likes to craft signs to compliment that décor. “I like to make things that go along with things I love,” she said. A bestseller is Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired wall hangings that she cuts from walnut plywood. Locally, Trostle’s earrings are available at Change Space in downtown Westminster.

A special sign she makes states, “Fences are for those who cannot fly,” a quote from Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), an American artist, writer and philosopher. He was the founder of the Roycroft artist community in East Aurora, New York, and a proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement that Trostle loves. According to Trostle, “This quote is about being a nomad. You can’t hold a person down who wants to travel and explore the world.”

Trostle is selling her crafts at the Union Bridge Gift Shop. There is a Facebook page for more information.

Trostle also authored a children’s book, which was illustrated by her niece, Abbey Miller of Hampstead. It is the first in a planned series entitled, “Adventures of Shining Hope.” The series is about Airstream travels across North America. The first book in the series, “Shining Hope Visits Niagara Falls,” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through local bookstores. The book is also carried by the Niagara Park Service gift shops in in Ontario. Trostle also donated copies to all Carroll County Public Library branches for local children to read and enjoy. For more information on her book, visit shininghopeadventures.com.

“The thing that makes me most satisfied as a creator, is the gratification I have from seeing my ideas come to life, she said. “When someone tells me that something that I created brings them joy, it is a magnificent feeling. If I could give advice to anyone reading this article, it would be that it’s never too late to get in touch with your creative side and discover your true passions.”

Her website in Gypsycrafter.com.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.

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