Entries in Grade 11 (16)


Mandela and Mosaics

I received an e-mail last term from Taryn Millar last term with a request to get my art students involved in an activity planned for this year’s Mandela day. Taryn is with the fundraising and project management arm for the redevelopment of the KZN Children’s Hospital and she wanted my art students from Reddam House Umhlanga to get involved in a mosaic project – taking two flat surfaced garden benches, and mosaicing images that relate to the Children’s Hospital onto the benches. This project would be initiated at the Children’s Hospital site on the 18th of July. (What would have been Mandela’s 100 Birthday)

My Grade 11 art students and I arrived at the KZN Children’s Hospital on Wednesday morning at 9am and started working on the tops of the concrete benches.

All sorts of events and activities were taking place at the same time. A few primary schools were involved in painting portraits of Mandela and making handprints in paint, and tertiary students worked on murals around the car park of the Children’s Hospital. With loud music playing, singing and a large birthday cake being cut and distributed, the atmosphere was quite festive.

We worked on the mosaics until 11.30am and then I took my students on a tour of the still derelict parts of the hospital buildings. A lot of the building is in a terrible state of decay. See the pics below. My students loved the atmospheric creepiness of the building and a few have vowed to return for future photo shoots. You can also look at my previous blog post for more pics of this building

We didn’t complete the benches - so we will collect them next week and finish them off at school. The finished  benches will eventually be placed along the pathway of the functioning outpatient department at the hospital.


Definitive proof that there is magic happening in my classroom this year. 

I started my Grade 10 and 11 students on a series of traditional drawing exercises this year culminating in bigger chalkboard drawings. They were allowed to choose what ever image they wanted to draw on to the boards. I am not too strict on content this early on in their development as artists because I want them to focus on technique rather than ideas at this stage. The girls worked on these drawings partly at school in our first term & then finished them off over the easter holidays at home. It was with great delight that I received these beautiful pieces. The following pieces are by Emma D, Emma C, Chia Chi, Georgina, Jessica, Khevna and Rebecca. 


A Drawing Performance 

I asked my Grade 11 students to experiment with three techniques that they hadn't used before for homework. One of my students, Olivia, took this request to an amazing level & the resulting artwork became part performance and part charcoal drawing. See the progression of the artwork below: 

Olivia started off by doing some yoga exercises to warm up.


Rorschach blots as inspiration for drawing

One of my ex-students Clari, studying at Vega (a design school in Durban), is working on a project that involves drawing on Rorschach blots. She is looking at how people interpret these blots differently in drawings.  The following drawing is by Clari: 

She asked me if I would get involved in this project. I gave the following PDF files to my Grade 10 & 11 students: The first file is a compilation of the original Rorschach blots & the second file is made up of blots Clari made up herself They were allowed to look at the blots – select one they liked, print it out & then create a drawing integrating the blot.  

The following drawings are by Paula, Minal, Barry, Suzanna and Sahraa respectively:  



How did I ever teach without Pinterest?  

I found Otto Blotto’s work on library books via Pinterest & thought I could use his idea for teaching, by adapting it to old library catalogue cards that our school librarian passed on to me. 

Otto Blotto describes his work: "I've been doing these Library People drawings for a number of years. I do them awhile, then take a break for awhile, but I keep coming back to them. I find them to be very satisfying. They are all drawn on the insides of discarded library books that I find at various used book sales. I like the memories that are somehow present in the books. Who read them? Where have they been? How did they affect the lives of their readers? How did they come to be discarded? Were they ever loved? I think that their history somehow becomes part of the art." 

I used Blotto’s images to inspire my Grade 11 students & gave them each an old library catalogue card & asked them to respond to the text on the cards in a drawing. They were told to use the cards as a format or use the cards within a larger format 

The following cards are by Yentl, Barry and Suzanna respectively. 

Detail below - The catalogue card is titled : Permission to Speak 

Suzanna chose to illustrate both sides of the card.