A PASSION FOR SCULPTURE
I started modelling in cement at age 7 with some cement from builders doing renovations on our house. I experimented with mixing it with different colour sands and powder paints and I stashed my little models at the bottom of the garden. I then played fun fantasy games with them.
My parents were against me doing sculpture as a career. They insisted I do a practical degree so I enrolled for a “career” course in the Arts Faculty of the University of Cape Town. However I secretly joined the Art Department too and during my first summer holiday landed a commission to do a sculpture for a block of flats called Dolphin Place. The art department technician built the internal structure for this 12 foot statue of The Dolphins which I modelled in half a ton of clay borrowed from a local artist. It took my entire summer holiday 6-8 hours a day to finish it. The wonderful technician cast it in ciment fondu for me and there it still stands today, a solid example of the many incidents in my life where I have launched into projects for which I have no training or experience.
After doing post graduate studies at the LSE and establishing my salaried career I met my husband in 1976 and we married soon after. I asked him if he would support to me achieve my life long dream of doing a degree in sculpture and he was happy to support me if I got a place in an art school.
I was accepted at Goldsmiths University in South London in 1977 for the Diploma in Sculpture and it was a delightful experience. With none of the pressures of having to be successful or make a career of my art it was like playing again. I loved every minute of it.
I won the Heredities award for one of my sculptures in 1978. I entered competitions one piece at a time. I never tried too hard to sell my work. I had a reasonably good income from my salaried career. I have always felt my work was very personal to me as well as a form of relaxation. I have tended to do smaller pieces that stand around the house on bookshelves and mantelpieces. It was only recently that I noticed the living room was getting a bit cluttered with my work that I tentatively moved towards the idea of selling my work by joining the Blackheath and Greenwich Open Studios which was really the first time I showed 14 pieces of sculpture. The feedback I got was very encouraging. For the first time in my life I thought of myself as an artist.
I am a huge admirer of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Brancusi as well as the wonderful stone carvers of Zimbabwe all of whom have influenced my style.
My latest source of inspiration is the many wonderful photos of sport in action I see in newspapers. Sports photographers and I try and catch the human body in extreme motion. My work is figurative but abstract using strong flowing lines to emphasize movement.
Video courtesy of Steve Russell Studios