The summer of 2017 will be my 31st year as a stonemason. I began at the age of sixteen working for my father as his mason tender (yes, I expect you to be doing the math right now, and that's o.k.). I mixed mortar and carried bricks as fast as I could.

When other little girls were playing with dolls... I was eating my fifteen pounds of dirt.

I live in a funky farm house in rural Vermont where we are allowed to freely express our feelings. We experiment with color and texture and dance in the rain and play in the mud. Life is full and rich. I look at life with a smile and find the humor in the silliest of things. When I look at the stars at night I know, like many, that I am insignificant.

The work I do happens with me, through me and not so much because of me. My plans for the year include loving and working with lovers of earth and stone all around the globe, if I root in a place, I will stay there and cultivate it. 

I've recently completed the building of a new studio and gallery: Rock Paper Scissors at my sculpture park and invite people to visit, especially the people who want to tell stories and wave their hands in the air and laugh. If you dance you are also welcome, or sing and dance, that's o.k. too.

AS 2017 takes flight, 

I am JOyful with anticipation as the world of stone opens its doors. 

These are drawings I drew in study of a famous Japanese painter. They became a calendar for Abbie Alvin, my mom. 

These are drawings I drew in study of a famous Japanese painter. They became a calendar for Abbie Alvin, my mom. 

Here's an except from the book I'm writing, it sets context for my work:

I sit still, writing, trying to find balance in this chaos, feeling pulled, conflicted, in harmony, in love, in life, it is not simple, clean black and white, for the first time, I know what it is, that I want, it's not a man, one man, it's a whole life, filled with many kinds of relationships, many meals shared, many movies watched, our lives passing, swirling spinning,

I don't want it black and white, in clean straight lines, I want it twirling, reeling, splashing and messy, full of color and confusion, full of details and perfection of the impossible, full of opening doors and trust, for the first time I see that something, isn't with ones eyes, it's in ones loving.

 

I live in harmony with my love, it is big, not focused, it is unlimited, it is huge, and I will not leave it on one pair of shoulders, in one set of arms, I spent years not showing it, not sharing it. I spent years being afraid to say I love you, and it crushed me with its weight. Though now I see it everywhere I look, on the mountains, in the snow, in the sky,  when softly slipping into dreams, in the dark of the night. For the first time I know, that to love in just one direction will always fail, 

but to love in them all will surely find only success, and in so many ways, it comes back bigger, and no, I will not reel it in.
 

Stone mason and sculptor Thea Alvin presents at Burlington's 10th Pecha Kucha Night held at The Fleming Museum's Marble Court. Image Courtesy of Diana Tigerlily and Greg Reid of Mandala Gardens, Marion Illinois.

Full Circle, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont

The Back Story:

Very First Arch, 2002

Very First Arch, 2002

Dedication to Success

This is the very first arch that I built. The marble was given to me early in the summer by a mason with whom I had worked on a previous project. It had been piled in a free-fill lot, accessible and open: 

my first stone studio.

At the time I was working in an art gallery as an interior designer and sales representative. Everyday after work, I'd work some more, hammering these stones into shape, testing and studying. By September I had learned to build an arch. Using my Volkswagen Jetta as a marble transport, I re-built this arch onsite in Burlington, Vermont for the South End Arts and Business Association annual show.

It won third place! Though the Jetta has since retired, this sculpture still stands strong in a private garden in Burlington's North End.

A Little Screwy, Exposed 2005, Stowe Vermont

A Little Screwy, Exposed 2005, Stowe Vermont

RECYCLE, REFRESH, RENEW

"A Little Screwy" was built in the summer of 2005, for the Helen Day Art Show: Exposed! in Stowe, Vermont. Once the show was completed I dismantled this piece so that it could join the arches in my front yard, completing the "Triple Flip" (pictured right). 

The beauty is the whole, not the individual, but the entire being. 

We are a group of humans on a planet, our job is to see each other as valuable and honor, and cherish one another accordingly, and care for and cultivate the earth which supports our existence.

I believe that my hands are smarter than I am, and that they operate on their own, and bring me along for the adventure, and take notes about what we did together while we were there. 

Tripple Flip, 2009, MyEarthwork Sculpture Park, Morrisville, Vermont

Tripple Flip, 2009, MyEarthwork Sculpture Park, Morrisville, Vermont

FRONT YARD RESPONSIBILITY

My entire stone theory, my life theory actually, is represented by this triple-helix on my front yard. It is one of the select pieces I attribute many of my life success to.

I love the grace of heavy rocks, and their shout-out to freedom and effortlessness. This piece is one that you can walk around or sit on and feel its strength. At about one-hundred feet long, it is still growing. I continue adding to it as I bring home simple rocks and completed sculptures looking to be repurposed.

Beauty should look simple yet be very complex.  Looking through the spiral it's possible to see  the stone roll up and around. Though suspension may look impossible for heavy rocks,  their weight balances and exchanges to hold each other in place.