Home' The Mt Barker Courier : The Courier - 2015-05-27 Contents PAGE 18 -- The Courier Wednesday, May 27, 2015
I've never had a
Bridezilla to deal with
-- Laurette Du Plessis
By Natalie Koufos
have been created by
students at St Catherine's
School in Stirling after a
professional artist taught
them the skills.
students worked with artist
James Parker to create 12
rectangular sculptures carved
on both sides.
The theme was "Greenman"
which links the school's
natural environment with the
art as students carved faces
and foliage onto the aerated
Mr Parker is a freelance
artist who works with
Carclew, a youth arts
organisation that develops
and provides art programs for
The school received a grant
from Carclew to make the
Mr Parker said a series of
workshops were run over two
weeks prior to the sculpting.
Lessons included drawing,
painting, collage and more.
"All types of techniques
were designed to help them
with the image on the stone,"
Mr Parker said.
"The techniques stay in
the school and students and
teachers can share them.
"Having a permanent
feature stops the work from
being ephemeral and there's
a reminder here every day."
Mr Parker said the project
was important as it provided
an avenue for students to
work with a professional
artist and consider art as a
About 60 students sculpted
over two days and the
finished products were
recently unveiled to the
Teacher Emily Wight said
students enjoyed carving and
working in teams to produce
"It's something the students
can be really proud of," she
"They have been so engaged." Students Lane Wesson, left, with artist James Parker, Josh
Myers and Liam Kennedy with one of the sculptures.
Greenman theme for students of sculpture
By Judy Richards-Norris
ATERRIFYING home invasion in
2001 changed the life of Laurette
While living in South Africa, she and her
husband Jean-Pierre were taken hostage
in their Pretoria home.
They narrowly escaped the fate of
many others in similar situations in the
country who had been raped, injured or
shot in their own homes.
Ms Du Plessis, a committed Christian,
believes they were both looked after in
their time of trouble.
"We took that experience as a sign from
Christ that we needed to change our
direction in life," she said.
Concerned with the situation in their
homeland, the couple decided to relocate
to a safer, more family-orientated country
and initially thought of moving to the US.
"But coincidently, Jean-Pierre was offered
employment as a forensic specialist in
Australia -- it was exactly the incentive
we needed to make the change," Ms Du
"We arrived in SA in 2003 with our two
beloved bulldogs to start our new life and
when we saw the beauty of the Adelaide
Hills, we chose to settle in Summertown.
"Our daughters Donay and Sharni were
born here and over the years my parents
and brothers have also relocated to SA.
"We have made many close friendships
through the community, at the Aldgate
Baptist Church and the Hills Christian
"Australia has lived up to all our
expectations -- it is a wonderful country
with great opportunities and, best of all,
we feel safe and secure.
"We know it is where we are meant to
Last year the family moved next-door to
a 6ha organic cherry property.
While being an enthusiastic helper about
the farm, Ms Du Plessis also manages
La Vianto Wedding and Event Hire, a
professional wedding hire and bridal
styling consultancy business based at her
She also continues her professional
"It's perfect as I can combine all my
passions and interests, surrounded by
beauty and nature," she said.
"We are learning all about the organic
cherry industry and want to develop it
more in the future -- it's exciting to learn
"I also plan to broaden my wedding
business into other exciting aspects as
I am passionate about making a perfect
setting for the wedding party.
"I have been involved in the wedding
industry for over 16 years, initially with
my mother in Pretoria, and now run my
own company with the help of my friend
"It's one of the most important days in
the life of a bride and groom, so I aim to
help them make it special and unique.
"Many brides in Australia prefer a classic
and simplistic style of wedding décor but
also want it to be different from the rest,
so I have imported numerous original
items from the US and other countries.
"I enjoy seeking out beautiful wrought
iron and wooden candelabras, centre
pieces, flowers and other decoration
pieces that cannot be found elsewhere in
"Making everyone involved in this special
day makes me happy.
"And I've never had a Bridezilla to deal
Born in 1976, Ms Du Plessis grew up
in Pretoria with her parents Lorraine
and Tinus Hamman and two younger
A talented artist and singer from an early
age, she has used her natural talents to
guide her through her life.
At university she gained a degree in
information science, majoring in graphic
design and psychology, from which she
developed marketing and promotion
skills that set her on a graphic arts
After working in public relations
for a large company, she began her
own company designing wedding
paraphernalia and logos.
At the age of 12, she became a member
of a prestigious youth choir, and her
powerful operatic voice gained her a
She studied vocal training with some of
South Africa's acclaimed opera singers
and became a regular performer with the
Pretoria Arts Council Theatre for more
than a decade, starring in some of her
favorite operas including Carmen and
Since moving to Summertown she has
been much in demand as a professional
wedding and event singer and a teacher
of operatic singing for primary and
secondary students from Hills Christian
Community School at Verdun.
"I find it so satisfying to help young
singers," she said.
"My own daughter Sharni has a very
good voice and loves opera so she is one of
my students as well.
"Not only do they enjoy learning voice
techniques, but I have noticed they gain
so much more including self-confidence,
better concentration skills and joy.
"Some who have experienced difficulties
in life have found new self-assurance and
skills through singing.
"It is so rewarding for me and I welcome
every new opportunity that comes my
"Life is like the seasons, every year
is different and we have to see what
"In the future, along with the cherry and
wedding aspects of my life, I would like to
support homeless people.
"I am thinking of ways how to do that
and I am sure the answer will come when
the time is right.
"My motto in life is to work hard, stay
humble and be kind and I don't think we
Home invasion leads to new life
Ph: (08) 8346 5081
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