I began pottery at age thirteen with a wonderful teacher, Lisa Manhardt, and then progressed to sculpture which I loved from the outset. My mother was an artist, sculptor and art teacher and is still actively creative in her old age, so I have been surrounded by art all my life.
After school I studied pre-primary teaching, where we learnt how important it is to allow a child’s creativity to be spontaneous and to avoid “correcting” their work or using colouring-in books which inhibit spontaneity. I have also seen how children can easily become despondent if they cannot succeed in creating or mimicking a perfect animal (or object) so I believe it is important for each child’s artwork to be individual and free. Art scholars classify this as “Primitive Art”.
For this reason I always encourage spontaneity and freedom in my classes, either within a set project or working independently on their own ideas. I am aware of how much pressure there is at school so when the children come to my classes I try to encourage a relaxed chatty after-school atmosphere, without deviating too far from the art project at hand.
Some time ago I managed an art school with Ann Orton in Fish Hoek for 10 years. It was a multi-media school and I specialized in three dimensional art using clay, wire and paper mache. During this period I also attended Raku sculpture / pottery classes with David May for a few years, and continued working on my own figurative abstract sculptures. I later branched into making large outdoor sculptures out of “Ciment Fondu”, by using moulds and I co-founded the Noordhoek Art Route, where I exhibited once a month from my studio.
For the last 20 years I have been running children and adult classes from my home studio at 6 Erica Street Noordhoek. The children have produced some wonderful pieces of art over the years and it remains a pleasure for me to be part of their creative processes. We work mainly with a heavily “grogged” terra cotta clay, and also occasionally with white and black clay. The children are then free to paint with all colours of “slip” onto their wet pieces. When dry, these pieces are “bisc” fired, and then dipped into a transparent glaze and “high” fired, so the children can take home a wonderful shiny piece of pottery to use in the home or to display.
I retain pleasant memories of past pupils when driving around Noordhoek and Fish Hoek as I discover house numbers in my signature style – with the number carved out and filled with glass and mosaic which melts in the kiln to provide a decorative edge.