As part of Donaldson Week, on Tuesday 23rd October, the LIV and MIV Forms (Years 7 and 8) had the opportunity to work with a professional US artist, Thedra Cullar-Ledford. They made paper dresses and, at the end of the day, put on a small catwalk. It was an enjoyable experience for all of the girls.
'At the start of the day, both year groups reported to Top Hall at 8:45am, after chapel. Then, the girls were divided into year groups. The LIV went downstairs to do a separate activity with the Artist in Residence, Miss Litvack, while the remaining girls learnt a bit about Thedra’s work, and then watched a TED Talk by a woman named Béatrice Coron, who made capes and stories out of carefully cut Tyvek house wrap paper. Her work was amazing, as it had a lot of detail and each piece was completely unique, although similar to the others at the same time. You can watch her talk by clicking here.
After the girls watched the talk, they were challenged by Mrs Appleyard Pallot to make as many flowers as possible out of house wrap in 30 minutes. The highest total made in the time by a single girl was 53 flowers! And as we were all making them, we created quite a large number in very little time! Then Thedra walked in, modelling one of her works – a spectacular but unique dress. Her bag was also one of her pieces, again, spectacular and unique. She gave the girls a short but informative introduction on what her work is about – turning paintings into fashion and other things, like the sculptures she makes. After that came the fun part – the girls were to make their own paper dresses. Thedra gave them a sheet of instructions and gave encouragement and advice when it was needed and necessary, but who were to be the models? That was the easiest part.
The girls, who were split into groups, decided amongst them who was going to be the one lucky enough to get a dress tailored to fit them exactly right, however, it would DEFINITELY not be done by professionals! In addition to the house wrap paper to make the skirt part, there was some light pink polka-dot fabric used to make tops and other accessories.
The models were all measured up, and the girls got to work making their dresses, a long but hopefully rewarding process that would take several hours. The range of outfits was extremely diverse, coincidentally matching our theme, 'Diversity,' for this Donaldson Week. Some dresses had long skirts, some had shorter variations. Some came with elaborate accessories, some came with more simple tops and had beautifully detailed skirts. Finally, at 12:15pm, the year groups swapped over and it was the LIV’s turn…
At the end of the day, the models put on their dresses and went down the catwalk, the length of Top Hall, showing what the girls had made. The result was outstanding in every way, shape and form, and the girls enjoyed it thoroughly!
About the Artist
Thedra Cullar-Ledford was born in Abilene, Texas, later moved to Mexico City and then to Eagle Pass, on the Texas/Mexico border. At just 16, she was emancipated in order to move to Dallas by herself to attend the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. From there, she received a full scholarship to California College of the Arts. She received a BFA cum laude in painting and then attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University in the UK for a Masters in printmaking and sculpture. Her family moved 16 times in 20 years before settling in Houston to establish her practice and build Independence Art Studios, which provides studio spaces to other Houston artists. She has two sons, a dog, two cats, and six chickens.'
By Grace (MIV Form)
Donaldson Week decorations
This week, the Fourth Form entered the Christmas spirit with the making of beautiful Japanese decorations. Each pupil used their artistic talents to create paper stars in bright colours, decorated with Japanese paper. Everyone got to have a little fun with their own personal designs, complete with spray paint and glitter. Although the stars were complex to make at first, many people soon got the hang of it and were creating masterpieces in no time. Every year at St Mary’s, the Fourth Form traditionally make decorations to add a little bit of cheer to the school and the tree, and this year we have carried on the tradition. Dora said: 'It was a great project to bring everyone together and to be creative. I really enjoyed it this year and can’t wait to do it again!'
By Bea (LIV Form)