"Tres Mariposas," (Three Butterflies), Canada, 2012. Fifty tons of rubble transformed as a temporary demonstration at the DSWAC, a not-for-profit dry stone walling organization led by John Shaw Rimmington. We had the abundant pleasure of meeting Norman Haddow. When the sculpture was completed many joined hands to dance through and around these stones. Cheers!

"Tres Mariposas," (Three Butterflies), Canada, 2012. Fifty tons of rubble transformed as a temporary demonstration at the DSWAC, a not-for-profit dry stone walling organization led by John Shaw Rimmington. We had the abundant pleasure of meeting Norman Haddow. When the sculpture was completed many joined hands to dance through and around these stones. Cheers!


Cistern, Private Residence, Boulder Colorado, 2010

Cistern, Private Residence, Boulder Colorado, 2010

Window Well Stair Case, Private Residence, Boulder Colorado, 2010

Window Well Stair Case, Private Residence, Boulder Colorado, 2010

I had the pleasure of first being introduced to the artistic talent of Thea Alvin through a friend's photo album.  I had long imagined an organic sculpture in the yard of our house in Jackson Hole and when I saw her work I knew immediately that this was the vision I had been seeking.  The spiraling arches she built there is a stunning transition between the manmade character of the house and the natural majestic character of the Grand Tetons.

When I was moving to Boulder, Colorado and building a house there, one of my first thoughts was how to incorporate one of Thea's works into the design of the house.  The first opportunity arose as we dug the holes for the almost 10 foot deep window wells.  Wanting to bring as much light as possible into the basement bedrooms, I asked Thea to design a window well that was also a sculptural addition to the entry of the house.  

What resulted is a design that always stops visitors for a look before they ring the bell.

But certainly most striking is the multifaceted garden wall and cistern she built which encloses the property.  Built with almost 500 tons of local stone, the wall is a masterpiece which includes tunnels, a recirculating pond, a waterfall, sheltered niches for flowers, vegetables and fruit trees and places to climb as well as sit and read. 

Thea's artistic inspiration and her ability to bring that inspiration alive with stone makes her one of the most talented women I know and I feel extraordinarily lucky to be able to look out of my windows at her work every day. - Tatiana Maxwell

 

Three Flips, Private Residence, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 2009

Three Flips, Private Residence, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 2009


Copyright Craig Line Photographics 2012

Copyright Craig Line Photographics 2012

Our 2012 "Full Circle"    exhibit at the Kent Museum in Calais, Vermont featured earthworks made from recycled or found materials. Thea and her four international interns used toppled barn foundation stone, from our grounds, to create an 8-foot cairn on the museum property in only two days. 

Thea's approach was gentle and steadfast: thorough and truly stunning.

Just as the process of walling is done slowly and patiently to achieve proper balance, so it is to work with Thea. Her pace and confidence, skill and demeanor completely suit collaboration. Her open, instructive process familiarizing herself with each stone and its role in the whole piece benefitted her students, but those of us watching on the sidelines were equally under her spell. We were grateful for her time and for the delightful gifts she brought to our show. 

Seeing the cairn is a surprise and a wonder every day; we can't imagine this historic place without such a beautiful year-round presence.  - Allyson Evans, Co-Curator, Kent Museum, Calais, Vermont.

Cairn, Kent Museum, Calais, Vermont 2012

Cairn, Kent Museum, Calais, Vermont 2012

Copyright Craig Line Photographics 2012

Copyright Craig Line Photographics 2012


I first learned of Thea Alvin through my friend, Ambrose, who had worked with her on the restoration of Opus 40 and told me about her skill and style.  My partner Greg and I had recently manifested 200 tons of stone and said it'd be a dream come true if Thea could come to our place and help us to build something on our land. Ambrose said, "Send her an email and see what happens." I did, and Thea responded,

"I'd be delighted to work with you to help your manifestations come to being."

That email exchange marked a significant moment for Greg and me, for in May 2013, Thea Alvin came to our land, Mandala Gardens, in Marion, Illinois. We showed her the space where we envisioned a stone sculpture. She stood in the center of the circle of seven trees and within minutes said, "I know exactly what you need here. I call it my ultimate design." She told us that ten years ago she had sketched her ultimate design, and it had existed only on paper for all these years while she waited to find the right space to build it. 

Infinity Arch, Copyright Mandala Gardens, Marion Illinois. Image thanks to Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid.

Infinity Arch, Copyright Mandala Gardens, Marion Illinois. Image thanks to Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid.

During the next four and a half days at Mandala Gardens, Thea taught her Art of Stone workshop, but this workshop was so much more than what the term implies.

I learned from Thea not only the relationship between physics, geometry, and gravity, but I also experienced insight into the relationship between human and stone in the building process, and the everlasting bonds of trust that are established while transforming blocks of rock into flowing arches.

Together, she and Greg and I and a handful of good people built into being, stone by stone, her ultimate design. She named it "Infinity Arch."

Thea Alvin is truly special. She is a visionary with a gift for leadership and pedagogy. Her style is calm and efficient, direct and invitational. A natural problem solver, she can map complexities and wield her hammer with clean might -- all while paying attention to nuance. Thea has crafted her life path in stone and walks that path to honor her way of being. 

Thea and Mike, after having completed the Infinity Arch. Image credit goes to Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid. Copyright Mandala Gardens.

Thea and Mike, after having completed the Infinity Arch. Image credit goes to Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid. Copyright Mandala Gardens.

Meanwhile, she has given us the confidence to work with stone and to continue building our own dreams.

Meeting her, learning from her, working with her, has been one of the singularly most important interpersonal and professional relationships in our life. We are so grateful that Mandala Gardens is now and forever graced with Thea Alvin's beautiful and timeless vision. - Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid.