Mixed media embody artists long-time passion

Natasha Geffen

Most kindergarteners have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Catherine Hall, whose exhibit “Embody Ethereal” is currently on display at the South End Arts and Business Association gallery, was not one of those kindergarteners.

She fell in love with art at an extremely young age and has dedicated her life to creating, teaching, learning and immersing herself in art.

Hall said she grew up in England and received her degree in art history before moving to the U.S. to continue her art education and start her career.

Having lived and worked in Burlington for the past 40 years, she said she has worked as an artist, taught as an art professor and participated in Burlington’s first ever Art Hop.

“Although I went to art school in England and had a foundation in everything, I had to teach myself more,” Hall said, when asked about starting her career at Trinity College.

One of the things that makes her work so unique is her willingness to experiment.

She uses materials that most people would never think of using, from Japanese gauze paper to the reflective glass beads that are used on highway signs.

When looking at Hall’s work, her knowledge and past experience manifests through her experimentation with different materials.

Hall said that living in England, she worked at a mill, where she learned basic information about textiles and was able to see different processes, especially the process of dyeing.

She said she is also very familiar with traditional approaches to art used throughout history, such as the mixture of pigments used to paint mummies in ancient Egypt and the techniques Michelangelo used to paint the Sistine Chapel.

She explained that her children play a big role in her art making.

Hall and her daughter, who has taught art classes at UVM in the past, have “exhibited together several times,” while her son “helps her with the process of brewing and fermentation,” she said.

After sitting down with her briefly at Speeder and Earl’s Coffee, right next to SEABA, she invited me to see her studio.

Located right next to the gallery, Hall has turned this studio into a creative space filled with colorful art supplies and beautiful artwork.

When it comes to young, aspiring artists, she has lots to say.

“Learn some basics, go to exhibits, go to museums, see what’s happening and see what’s contemporary,” she said.

However, her biggest piece of advice is simply, “keep doing it.”