Entries in General interest (5)


Fondant Sculpture and Melkterts (Milktarts)

My Grade 10 students have asked me to allow them to explore fondant sculpture in the third term this year.  I have already started collecting ideas and inspiration on my Pinterest board “Food and Art”.




I have never baked anything more complicated than a muffin, so I am going to have to enlist the expertise of Phillipa our consumer studies teacher. Phillipa recently won a melktert (milktart) competition held at our school. Our headmaster fancied himself as an expert milktart baker & challenged the staff to beat him baking this traditional Afrikaans desert. 

The competition was judged by two owners of a local restaurant Spice in Durban, during our teatime on Friday 10th of May.  You can download Phillipa’s winning recipe here and you might like to download Tessa’s (a member of our Afrikaans staff) here.



My other home...

Lynne Wyatt-Minter, the head of English at our school handed me an essay to read this week. The essay is by one of my Grade 11 student's (Minal’s) and describes her experience of the Durban Girls' College art studios. (The art studios are on the top floor of the building below) 

I have taken excerpts from the essay & posted them below:

She describes her journey from the entrance of the studios, up the stairs & then into the main art room:

“The potent smells of turpentine, lacquer thinners and resin; combining into one & going straight to my head, gives my creative spirit something to feed off. It’s my hearing that kicks in next. Mrs. Martin, like the busy body she is, is walking up and down the art room, her ‘killer’ heels playing a rather off beat yet strangely soothing ‘melody’ along the wooden floor. All that’s separating me from my haven is a flight of stairs which I usually fly up due to all my energy, newly found every time I enter the art room. Once greeted by Mrs Martin’s personal guard dogs and wolves, I’m in!” (I have a drawing on the second landing of a stairwell of fighting dogs) 

“The bright summer light flowing in through all the uncovered windows blinds me for a second & then I see it all.  The wide loft like room, tables situated all around crowded with art utensils and students, the breath-taking Durban City and teasing beach views from the balcony. It all combines in such a beautiful way creating the best home-like atmosphere.“

This for me is the true beauty of this classroom. Walking in stress free, being able to kick off my shoes, turn up the music; catch up on weekend stories yet at the end of the day, still being able to complete my work. Personally, Art projects don’t count as ‘work’ they’re opportunities for me to express my passion towards Art and it’s in this classroom where I’m able to let my creative juices flow and express my passion at its best!

What is my idea of a perfect classroom you ask? It’s anything remotely similar to Mrs. Martin’s Art room. 24/7 assistance from one of the best teachers, a homely atmosphere, one of the most scenic views and the best part-being able to let go and be yourself by expressing yourself in any way possible. What could be wrong with a place like this, it’s a little piece of heaven that Durban Girls’ College hides for us.”  



Featured in SA Artist magazine 

One of my Grade 12 students, Candice, has recently been featured in a national magazine called “The South African Artist” March/April 2012 (issue no.3).

She was interviewed in my classroom by the editor and the managing editor of the magazine, Harry Lock and Linda Hodnett.  So I was aware of the article that was written about her artwork. The article features some of her Grade 10 & 11 artworks and her end of Grade 11 exam piece which was comprised of letters and drawings.

Click here (part1), here (part two) and here (part 3) to see excerpts from this artwork. Click here to read a copy of the article in the magazine.  To my surprise one of my ex-students, Annchen Naude, was featured on Page 6 and 7 of the magazine!  

She was recently awarded first prize (R10 000) for a large charcoal drawing submitted to the KZNSA members’ exhibition.  She is presently studying Fine Arts at Rhodes University.


Bats and Bearded Dragons

Our school is not only inhabited by two legged creatures, but quite a variety of four legged ones too. A family of bats have taken up residence in a very tall palm tree in the middle of of a courtyard in quite a buzy part of our school. The palm tree is flanked by two corridors & is next to our hall, our tuck shop & the Grade 12 garden (where the girls relax during breaks during the school day). It is amazing to think that these creatures are quite content in this very active, loud environment & return every day to roost in the palm tree. Our French teacher Victoria Hathorn (who is quite an accomplished photographer) took the following photographs: 

Yesterday one of my Grade 11 students walked into the art studios with a bearded dragon. This creature was clinging on to the top of her school dress with its head tucked into her neck & seemingly very calm in the school environment. The classroom cleaner (Regina) was not so calm when she spotted the lizard & she flattened her body up against the wall & asked me if it was a crocodile! I insisted on a photo shoot - the following pics were a few of the many I took:


Neglected Children's Hospital 

One of my Grade 10 art students, Julia, did an evocative photo essay of the Addington Children’s Hospital as part of an English Project - all of the images in this post are the ones she shared with me.

The image above is the main entrance/facade of the building. 

The hospital is located on Durban’s beachfront. Built in 1931 through funds raised by then Durban mayor Mary Siedle, it was closed in 1984 and now stands derelict. Nothing has been done to restore the building since - homeless people have moved in and the building is deteriorating even more.

In 2009 a fire, probably started by the homeless people for warmth further destroyed part of the building - the You Tube clip of the fire is below: 


Quite sad that hospital records are left abandoned in the rooms (above)

I was amazed to discover in Julia's set of pics an image of a room with a Durban Girls' College plaque:


There have been announcements in the press claiming that funds have been put aside for the restoration of this building, and there seems to be a sign on the building something is imminent, but to date nothing has been done…