Welcome to this site, the gallery and the works of
Alvena Hall, Textile Artist.
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8345 3180
A little about myself: I was born in Adelaide, but raised in country South Australia. I went to Teacher’s College and Art School, taught school, and then college. In the mid 1970’s I became a free-lance artist, writer and workshop tutor, with fiber and fabric the major medium. In the mid 80’s a return to University, resulted in an MA in Visual Arts, from Flinders University South Australia.
At heart I am an embroiderer, working by hand in the beginning, but machine and digital stitch are now as important. Fabrics are printed, dyed and over-painted but thread is a huge addiction, and the studio holds a huge collection of threads of all kinds.
Digital technology has made available a whole new palette, and I do produce a large collection of miniature landscapes, mostly of Flinders Ranges. Sometimes these are assembled into small quilts.
However wonderful the technology, the driving force in the work is always the subject. This has led to works in series, which usually develop over several years. The ‘Babbage Collection’ dealt with the birth of the computer age, and the ‘Antikythera Instrument’ collection with its precursor in Hellenistic times. The ‘Fragile Zone’ collection is ongoing, and its source is the northern desert around Lake Eyre and Yorkeys Crossing just out of Port Augusta. This is evolving into the “Arid Zone’ collection: Wrecked cars are scattered about, monuments to failed endeavor in the face of a relentless environment.
The beach near home has also been important, and ‘The Littoral Zone’ collection in lace resulted, along with a large collection of Beach Dresses named ‘The Tennyson Collection’ after our local beach.
By 2002-4 the poet John Shaw Neilson provided inspiration for a major collection, shown in Adelaide, Perth, Penola and Mudgee, and about to go to Brisbane.
However, recently the desert again holds a fascination, with it fragile, subtle detail, vast horizons, and geological age that beggars imagination. The ragged mountains, mere remnants of ancient Himalayan landscapes hold ancient secrets. Fossils lie under old seabeds, rarely visible and then only in a glancing light. The slow moving processes of climate and time seem to be but briefly interrupted by our human presence. Recent work is below and more in the Gallery. Enjoy!
Shades of Ediacara 1: 2013
Metaform Quilts: 2012
Metaform 1 shows Dicensonia, one of the very early discoveries of Reg Sprigg.
Metaform 2 displays the tiny Parvancorina, proposed as a possible ancestor to the later Trilobite genera, also abundant in other sites in South Australia.
Lace at Denver: May 2013
'Dickensonia' lace vessel recently acquired by the Art museum of Denver. Stirched in 100% Swiss cotton thread, with digitally designed motifs of the famous Ediacaran fossil found in the flinders Ranges of south Australa
Vessel is 22cm X 16 cm.
Ediacaran Suite: 2008 - 2012
The artist decided upon, transparent, lace-like objects to express her wonder at these natural phenomena. Imprints, once discovered are most elusive, and frustratingly vanish under magnification amid the grains of the stone, or as the light changes, or if brittle rock cracks and flakes. Perceptions of form shift from positive to negative depending on the angle of vision and of the light. So it’s the all-white vessels and the shadows they cast that together make up these works. Five are currently in Love Lace exhibition at the Power House Museum, Sydney. Shown Tribrachidium vessel (approx h22cmxs)
The Lace Works
The artist’s interest in lace goes back a long time. Lace leaves in red blow in the fire-storms of Ash Wednesday fires that ripped though vast areas of South Australia shown here in “Fire storm”, Regeneration Series of 1984. It continued in the Fragile zone laces from 1990s, Panel shown is “Sewing the sands of lake Eyre” now in the collection of the Embroiderers Guild of SA. The Tennyson Collection of lace beach-dresses followed, garments for water sprites and sirens, some flirty, or seductive and dangerous, or for serene sea-goddesses.
My Mum's Royal Doulton
Another quilt form the John Shaw Neilson collection also reflects upon those times. “river rising” is shown with detail ( the raw-edge blocks are 29cm square)
Arid Zone: 4 small quilts 2007
In the Outback ruined vehicles litter the desert, and often they are signs of tecnology failing in unforgiving environments. At Yokeys Crossing, and at the Opal mining settlement of Coober Pedy (top) old cars may be gutted and then used to power equipment, used as landmarks, road signs and even as meeting places. They each tell a tale and are part of a vernacular history, discarded but not unloved. Each small quilt is 40cms square.
Icon for Drought: Woman Wails for Water 2007
Angels, clouds and stars surround the Madonna ( she is a 17th C. Ethiopian image); an arch, niche or upturned boat encloses her. The boat is an ancient and loaded symbol; think of the medieval ship of Fools. It is stranded , upended in a barren mountainous desert. But it is also a window onto the current drought situation, where the men are leaving the land, but women stay to deal with the harsh consequences. Nothing in this composition is quite stable, indicating uncertainty. The text at the bottom reaads " She collected and then boiled some eggs. Carefully she drained off the water, just a cup full. Calling her four children, she damped a soft rag and cleaned each one:face, hands elbows and scabby knees. Well pleased at finding a teaspoon or two of water left, she gave it to the parched hens." This tale comes from the Mallee in the 1940's, and I can still recall the heat and blowing red sand of the 1947 drought in that district: I lived there.
Size 76cm x 105cm