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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.

Hallman-Water-Lily-Pads_525
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.

Ted Hallman’s work at the Museum of Art and Design

Crafting Modernism:  Mid Century Art and Design

7 comments

  1. jenny hoople says:

    What a timely post, Margaret! I’ve been thinking about Alexander Technique because our Upper Thoracic Chiropractor teaches it!! I’ll have to check out more info about his classes, thanks 😀

    Also, I highly recommend checking out upper thoracic (NUCCA) chiropractic care. They only adjust the top 2 vertebrae, feels like he’s just touching you when he makes the adjustment. Both my husband and I have seen some pretty fantastic results from it. When I’m out of alignment, injury’s happen so much easier and instead of getting better they get worse as time goes on. If I go in for an adjustment then the same day my body starts healing the injuries again. It’s fascinating!

    • That is indeed fortuitous! How cool that your upper thoracic chiropractor teaches it. I am so glad that the adjustments are helping you and your husband. I’ve learned so much in just 6 months of Alexander technique, and would definitely recommend it as a way to maintain the ease you feel after adjustments.

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