Ted Hallman (b. 1933, Quakertown, PA), a nationally acclaimed fiber artist, dedicated his career to the exploration and mastery of technique, structure and form. His journey as an artist began as a student at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, from which he received his bachelors of fine arts degree in 1956. Hallman continued his studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, graduating in 1958 with a master of fine arts in textiles and paintings and received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at University of California at Berkeley in 1974. He served as head of the textile department from 1963 to 1970 at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, where he initiated a curriculum and work-study program with the textile industry in New York City. From 1975 through 1999, Hallman influenced a generation of artists through his successful career as the head of the textile department at Ontario College of Art and Design (now OCAD University) in Toronto. While at Ontario College, he originated “off campus” programs in Kyoto, Japan; Paris, France; and Lake Como and Florence, Italy. For over six decades, Hallman has crisscrossed the world to share his skill, knowledge, and love of weaving through workshops at numerous universities and art centers, while also spending time researching textiles from around the globe. Maintaining studios in Lederach, Pennsylvania and Santa Fe, New Mexico, he continues to innovate in his weavings using novel approaches to structure.
Ancient structures found in many cultures from around the globe are inherent in weaving, but it is Hallman’s ability to combine them with his interest in healing, spirituality, implied energies, movement, and integrative therapies that makes his artwork distinct. Hallman manipulates warp and weft to produce evocative and powerful imagery in his woven works of art. In utilizing a variety of weaving techniques — loom, interlacing, knitting, crocheting, knotting, looping — the artist uses the ethnic lore and sacred geometry of weaving as a substrate in which he entwines his inner journey of strife, loss, healing, acceptance, love and empowerment. Hallman says, “The evolving work itself can be a metaphor for the ‘ongoing’ integration of the physical life and the spiritual life.” This unique approach towards weaving is due in part to the artist’s training as an Alexander Technique teacher, Rolfing Structural Integration therapist, his study of Movement Work, and his lifelong interest in dance.
Among many honors, Hallman was inducted into the American Craft Council College of Fellows in 1988 and received the Governor of Pennsylvania Outstanding Contributions to the Commonwealth Award in 2001. His artwork is found in numerous public collections including: The Hermitage State Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; National Design Museum, New York; Museum of Applied Art, Helsinki, Finland; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Renwick Collection, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania.
—Elisabeth R. Agro