Home » Blog » Pennsylvania Craft » Page 3

Tag: Pennsylvania Craft

Ted Hallman at his loom

Ted Hallman: The Alexander Technique in the Art Studio

Ted Hallman's 'The Inner Tree'
The Inner Tree, c. 1977. Ted Hallman, American, born 1933. Knit acrylic yarn, steel, 90 x 63 1/2 x 30 3/4 inches (228.6 x 161.3 x 78.1 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


In November, my back began paining me, and I had some difficulty with putting on my socks, let alone being in the mosaic studio.  I was in distress, both physically, and emotionally, wondering if my transition to full time in the studio since 2010 was contributing to my back pain.  I remembered my choir director mentioning the Alexander Technique, and searched for teachers online.  Serendipitously, there was an Alexander  teacher only 1/2 hour away, who is also an artist.  Ted Hallman has been creating innovative textile art since the mid 20th Century.

Currently, one of Ted’s fiber sculptures is on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building. The Inner Tree is eloquently described by Rebecca Saionz, “Knotted acrylic yarns over steel armature form a tree whose branches have a netted basket-like quality.  The piece assumes a striking fragility, neither holding itself up, nor completely dangling from the ceiling.”   Stratoz and I went to see it last month, and I was struck how the sculpture conveyed a sense of what I experience in Alexander lessons, the concept of feet rooted on the ground, and the head up, as if with the help of invisible threads.  I like the image of an inner tree reaching for the sky, while rooted in the earth.

Ted Hallman, “Water Lily Pads,” 1964 (MAD/Ted Hallman)

Alexander teacher, Robert Rickover, invited me to record an interview about my experience with the Alexander Technique as an artist, and I was glad to be able to share some of what has helped me become aware of how I am using my body, and the possibility of ease in the studio.  Robert maintains an extensive website called The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique, which is a great place to start to learn more, as is his  Alexander Audio with specific applications of the technique.

For visual enjoyment of Alexander concepts, check out my Alexander Technique Pinterest Board.

Ted Hallman at his loom
Ted Hallman at his loom


The Inner Tree on display in the Secret Garden exhibit in Philadelphia through July 2012.


Rachel Derstine Designs: Orange Quilt Goodness from PA

Rachel Derstine
Rachel Derstine


Rachel Derstine’s work has a glow to bask in, with color variegation and pulsating quilting stitches.  She is from my part of Pennsylvania, although she grew up in Japan, and combines the PA quilting tradition with kimonos, silks, ikat and batik.  Rachel’s attention to texture is very inviting to my eye, and I feel a kinship with her multiplicity of fabrics. As much as I love iridescence in my own mosaic art, I love it even more when I surround the brilliance with simple matte glass.  Check out more of Rachel’s work at her Rachel Derstine Designs site(including her orange header!)


More Orange and my Orange Tuesdays Pinterest Board.


Ochre Round Mirror by Margaret Almon

Crafted: The Fine Art of Craft at Studio B in Boyertown, PA through October 15th, 2011

Ochre Round Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon, 15"
Ochre Round Mosaic Mirror by Margaret Almon, Best Design at Crafted, Studio B, Boyertown, PA


I attended the opening for an exhibit of fine craft, which featured three of my large mosaic mirrors.  My Ochre Round Mosaic Mirror was awarded Best Design by juror Nick Mohler of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, and here are some words Nick wrote about it:

I am hypnotized by this piece.  My eye flutters between the various heights and depths of the glass, the contrast between the grout line and glass shards.  I get stuck wondering how each piece of glass was cracked.  The yellows and oranges around the mirror pull my eye around.  No matter where I look I eventually have my gaze return to that sunburst design around the inner edge of the mirror.

I asked to keep the little slip of paper with these words.  There is a special pleasure in winning an award for something I enjoyed making.  In jr. high, I won the Adele Swenson Award for excellence in Home Economics, but sewing sent me into a state of frustration.  In my late  20’s I won a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for my poetry, and although my poems were incredibly important to me,  I couldn’t say I enjoyed the process of writing them.

In the past, an opening would’ve filled me with dread.  I was shy and often felt like a scared rabbit at social events.  So it was also a pleasure to enjoy the opening, and meet some of the other artists, including Wendy Edsall-Kerwin, known online, but now in person.  I suspect Wendy feels the same way about metal that I feel about glass, and one of her wall pieces, Gust, won Best Style.  She kept her slip of paper as well.  My mirrors are placed next to a fabulous piece of rag rug furniture by Cathy Hetznecker, and we both agreed that they look like they were meant to be together.

Other artists included, Debbie Burkert of Boyertown, basketweaving; Lyn Camella of Boyertown; Carrie J. Keplinger of Boyertown, fiber craft; Maxine Rhoads of Sinking Spring; Heidi M. Schweitzer of Shillington; Brad Smith of Worcester, woodworking; Bonnie L. Watton of Schwenksville; and Bonnie Wren of Boyertown.

Crafted: The Fine Art of Craft was at Studio B in Boyertown on September 16th-October 15th, 2011, part of the celebration of American Craft Week, October 7-16, 2011.

Peak Color by Paul Grecian

A Sense of Place: Photographs by Paul Grecian and Oils by Materese Roche, Artists’ Gallery Lambertville, NJ

Peak Color by Paul Grecian
Peak Color by Paul Grecian, Archival Pigment Photograph


A Sense of Place

featuring: Paul Grecian and Materese Roche

Artists’ Gallery, Lambertville, NJ

This show runs from August 5, 2011 until September 4, 2011

Stratoz and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of A Sense of Place, featuring the work of our friend, photographer Paul Grecian, and landscape paintings by Materese Roche.  The show is framed by Thoreau’s  assertion that “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”  The opening featured the unveiling of two works that Paul and Materese created from the same unedited photo file, independently of each other, and I was fascinated by how different the two pieces were, as each was marked by what the artist saw, their vision of the world around us.  Vision can be both the biological ability to see, and a larger interpretation and passion within that seeing.

I am drawn to Paul’s use of color, his sensitivity to the power that resides in focal points of a scene.  His landscapes are intentional, as he focuses on the places in a scene that harbor the most energy.  Stratoz and I have one of Paul’s photos, cedar waxwings feasting on berries, sculptural in their dimensionality in the foreground, and a background that seems constructed of painted silk, of shades of green and dark red.   A Sense of Place highlights the artist’s reverence for nature, his explorations of local natural areas like Peace Valley Park in Bucks County, PA, as well as the coast of Maine, with gorgeous orange enlivening the images.

This was our first visit to Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, NJ, and the array of work is wonderful, as is the commitment to artists:

Artists’ Gallery is a partnership of professional visual artists who cooperatively administer, staff and exhibit in our Lambertville, New Jersey location. . . Since its inception in 1995, the high quality of work and variety of artistic styles has earned Artists’ Gallery a solid reputation among discerning collectors, designers and art critics as a showcase for viewing and purchasing original works of art.

Artists’ Gallery is committed to a $0 profit policy. Each member gets 100% of proceeds from the sale of his/her work.


Passing Storm by Materese Roche, oil on Linen
Passing Storm by Materese Roche, oil on Linen

Work by the other 16 artists in the cooperative was also on display and I was particularly taken by the wood mosaic of Norine Kevolic with a natural and painted wood, mica powder, metal leaf, each individually scribed and cut on a bandsaw.

Over at Stratoz:

P is for Purpleface and Paul

Moon Jazz V and a Shout-Out to Paul Grecian

Y is For Youghiogheny Glass

47 166/365 This is not my studio floor
Youghiogheny Glass Factory Parking Lot. Photo by Wayne Stratz.

Stratoz took a trip to visit a friend in Cleveland, and stopped at the Youghiogheny Glass Factory in Connellsville, PA,  on his way back.  He was greeted by this really cool parking lot of glass scraps!  He bought several sheets to bring home, and we’ve been enjoying the rich variegated colors and the dimension and beauty they bring to Stratoz’ stained glass and my mosaics.

47 169/365 Up close with Youghiogheny Glass
Up close with Youghiogheny Glass. Photo by Wayne Stratz.


Welcome Sign Mosaic in Warm Tones
Welcome Sign Mosaic in Warm Tones by Nutmeg Designs


47 215/365 went home with a friend
Blue Green Starflower by Wayne Stratz.

We are proud that Youghiogheny glass is from Pennsylvania!

An Interview By Metals Artist Wendy Edsall-Kerwin and a Shout Out for her Super Bowl Challenge

I was excited to be interviewed by Wendy Edsall-Kerwin, Metals Artist extraordinaire, as her featured artist for February.  Go to her post on  Hammermarks to check it out!

Sbc2011 I also wanted to send a shout out about her Super Bowl Challenge 2011.  In 2009, Wendy challenged herself to make a bowl on Super Bowl Sunday, and then in 2010 invited her readers to do the same, and for 2011 she wants it to be a party!

The bowl can be made of anything, metal, wood, plastic, bread, papier-maché, and you can start before the day, but hopefully finish it on Sunday, February 6th, 2011.  Go over to Hammermarks to read more about it, and link up with other folks who are taking the challenge.