Gloria Treseder '08

In July 2015, Gloria Treseder ’08 was riding her bicycle down a quiet street in Napa, Calif., when she was suddenly thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. She had been hit by a car. Her helmet saved her life, but she suffered head injuries that affected her working memory—particularly words and names. In the haze that followed, she sought refuge at a former Buddhist retreat in the woods where, surrounded by peaceful nature, she began to paint again.

Gloria had studied studio art at Puget Sound, but she had not picked up a paintbrush in many years. Her first piece after the accident was an oil painting of her blue bicycle helmet.

“I was scared I had forgotten how to paint, that somehow the labyrinth of a life I had followed over the years took me too far away from that self,” she wrote in her blog. “I found nothing else more comforting to the phantoms of trauma than slowly bringing to shape a solid, simple still life. Returning to my art returned me to myself ... words and all.”

In 2017, Gloria enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, Kent, England. There, she used art to explore the dynamic between humans and nature. For a recent exhibit, Spirit Levels, she utilized both natural and industrial materials and charcoal drawings of roots.

Gloria continues to explore root and tree imagery and is working on an illustrated narrative about rootlessness, migration, and re-rooting. She is also back on her bike, training for a century (100-mile) ride in May.

Gloria Treseder '08

Gloria Treseder artwork