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8

the ruyton reporter

Welcome to the Visual Arts Studio

I would like to introduce myself and to encourage you to come downstairs and visit our bright and

active Art Studio. My name is Mrs Donna Davies and I am delighted to be able to bring my passion,

dedication and years of experience to my role as Visual Arts Educator for the Prep to Year 4 classes,

in the Junior School.

I have begun an art learning journey with the students, which allows them to inquire and explore art

elements and concepts. I have a strong belief that creativity grows from a sense of wonder. I employ

a variety of teaching strategies which encourage the students to be risk takers and to question,

experiment, and to immerse themselves in every facet of the art lesson. I seek to learn all that I can

about their art interests and abilities.

I have encouraged the students to eat, sleep and dream about Visual Arts. I have introduced the ‘Artist

of the Lesson’, who proudly wears a sparkling scarf and thereby becomes the art critic for the day. In our

world of imagination, this means that the girls learn to recognise and identify the art elements and to

make informed choices and comments on the work of others. In this way I am encouraging the students

to engage in peer and personal reflection in a non-judgemental manner. My aim is to build confidence

and skills in art, which will lead the students to produce a culture of innovation and creativity.

The art students have embarked upon an exploration into pattern, colour and symmetry across all classes.

Various skill-based and imaginative art exercises have led each class into producing individual pattern

pieces reflecting their own personalities and use of self-expression. The Prep and Year 1 students began by

creating decorative fish, Years 2 and 3 have engaged in colour blending with inks and pen, and Year 4 have

created unique teddy characters.

I welcome the opportunity for art education to be a shared process with parents, students and classroom

teachers and I feel privileged to teach in a Visual Arts Department that truly offers a breadth of

opportunity for this to be embraced.

Mrs Donna Davies,

Visual Arts teacher

Artistic Gems

Precious Memories

Sophina Hemingway has enjoyed a long and rich

association with the School in her role as an

Art teacher since October 1997. Sophina has

taught in both the Senior and Junior Schools and

is a passionate practising artist. Sophina may

have retired, but her legacy lives on in the

hearts, minds… and the homes, of the many

hundreds of girls whom she taught. Ask any of

her students, and you will be told of bedroom

shelves with feathered-cone birds, colourful

bowls on kitchen dressers, masks and paintings

mounted on walls, and even perhaps a mythical

creature in pride of place in the hallway to greet

all visitors (despite its ‘wonky’ leg). Perhaps this

is best captured by the words of Mia Avram,

now in Year 5, who relished her time from Prep

in Mrs Hemingway’s classes.

‘Out of all the work you do at School, the art work

is the thing that you treasure the most because

you worked with your imagination and your

hands. The pieces bring back strong memories

of when you were younger.’

In fact, it was a regular occurrence that pieces

emanating from the various Prep to Year 4 Art

rooms over the years would surprise visitors

when looking at the various displays. (‘How old

did you say the artist was?’) In fact, even in

Prep classes, so careful was the design process,

the attention to detail and the quality of the

finish, that the artworks are still treasured by

students and their families today, often many

years later. Take a look at the front of the current

School diary and you will see some examples of

the reasons why.

‘Mrs Hemingway was very creative and

supportive. She would let children run along with

their own ideas, but make further suggestions

too,’

remembers Mia.

And so it is that Sophina’s inspiration lives on

and her work at Ruyton will be appreciated for

many years to come.

Mia Avram,

Year 5 and

Ms Helen Tait,

Year 5 teacher.