Threaded Drawings May 2015 artSpace Durban

It was with great trepidation that I approached the theme of this group exhibition.  Although I am familiar with drawing and I do use stitching in my work… the combination of this with the brief “based on drawings by your favourite artist” was daunting.

I at first searched for artists who suited the type of subject matter I explore & when that didn’t work out I switched to looking for an artist who draws in a similar way to my style of drawing. I discovered the work of Joseph Loughborough whose “impulsive and intuitive rapid-fire mark making centers on honesty, expressionism and possibly exorcism. The result is an attempt to grasp a comprehension of the human condition.” (

Although the content of his drawings are generally darker than mine I tried to emulate his style in mixed media drawings mainly of my iconic Sphynx cat Sam and drawings of artists faces I have made contact with through the iPhone app “Sktchy”.    

I have introduced, due to the influence of Loughborough, graphite powder and a more agressive surface line & mark making that hasn’t appeared in my work to date.  He also makes isoteric symbols or circular marks on the surface of his drawings in a different colour. These symbols have been translated into threaded focal points in each of my works. 

Some of these artworks on board I uploaded to my ipad and procesed them a bit further, printed them on photographic paper, collaged into them using washi tape & finally stitched n to them using my very old Elna sewing machine. 


Big Bad Wolves and Silver Slippers 

I gave my Grade 12 students the theme “Growth and Evolution” to explore as their year work theme.  Katie interpreted this theme in terms of her own growth. She re-visits her childhood memories and explores her “big-bad wolves” and “silver – slipper” moments.   Her artwork also explores the child in every one of us. She forces us to play a childhood stacking game: the viewer has to pick up each cup & not only look at the outside – but to look at the inside of each cup to find secret messages, wishbones, tangled threads and even a snake in one.

 Katie sees life as a game & these cups are metaphors for collapse, the unexpected and the fragility of life. 

This artwork not only showcases Katie’s sophisticated thought process, but also displays her mastery of drawing in the pencil sketches of family members and items that have special significance to her. 


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. 


Art at Durban Girls' College Derby Day 

St Mary's Waverly and Durban Girls' College decided to create a day where our two schools would compete and collaborate in sports, cultural and academic activities. My art committee & I decided to work on a combined collage with the St Mary's girls. We chose to do the yin and yang sign because it represents that "apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary" (,. We started out by masking out the yin & yang design on to a portable pinboard in the art studios. 

We then looked for various shades of green & red values (our respective school colours) in magazines & arranged them in sequence on tables in the room.

The girls from both schools then started cutting out images from templates. These images were symbols associated with the two schools: lilies, panama hats, a galleon, violins & hockey sticks. Some of the images were quite intricate & time-consuming, so we switched to cutting out hearts. Which represents the relationship & collegiality between the two schools. 

We then started attaching these cut out motifs to the pinboard using pins and a hammer. 

The following pics were taken in sequence of the collage developing.  We put the pin board on the floor to make the hammering of the pins into the surface easier. 


Below: Pics of the final artworK


Key first steps to successful charcoal drawing 

This term with my Grade 10 students started with us focussing on charcoal during class time & drawing in graphite pencil for homework.I normally get my students to draw almost straight away on Emtini Liner – a tobacco coloured card & they then tackle quite a big drawing (about A2 in size). This year I tried to give the students a more comprehensive introduction to charcoal. First doing a series of contour and gesture drawing using willow charcoal & observing human faces (each other) & animal skulls.

We then did copies of David Hockney’s landscape studies in charcoal to learn about mark making in charcoal.  

They were then introduced to planar analysis by observing the planes and surfaces on a face selected out of a magazine & then practicing this using the mannequin & skeleton for reference.  

They were also shown the following images dealing with planar analysis from the blog of Adriana Burgos:

My Grade 10 students showed an interest in the blackboard drawing that I did on my office door this year, so I decided to order mounted boards covered in blackboard paint, that they could use as a surface for their own charcoal/chalk drawings.


One of my students, Anne, found the lesson on planar analysis really useful & applied what she had learnt to a drawing of an ocelot. The following images document her progress: