Coffee & Sponge Life Drawing Sessions

Two weeks ago, studio mates of mine asked me to curate one of their life drawing salons. Coffee & Sponge aka Samuel and Jennifer offer fantastically inspired sessions every Sunday out of their studio in Bow from 3-5pm.With my chance to conduct the two of them, I wanted to find new vocabularies of movement. I was influenced by a life-changing dance production annoyingly titled “bODY rEMIX/ gOLDBERG vARIATIONS” choreographed by dancer Marie Chouinard.


The flyer read:”Inspired by the dance works of Marie Chouinard and Erwin Wurm’s one-minute sculptures, Coffee+Sponge and guest artist Kyla Harris present ALTERATIONS & REPAIRS as an exploration into what happens when we are forced to he relinquish our normal body functions and explore alternative vocabularies of movement.”


On the day of the event, Coffee & Sponge had time-based challenges for themselves. Together we put an agenda of:


1. A tea ceremony – Jennifer popped high heels on her hands to make tea for Samuel. In the meantime, Samuel used compostable flower pots has pronged “hands” to constrict his face with elastic bands.


2. Balance of scarves – Both bodies bent back and forth, exchanging weight, tension and movement with scarves holding them in at points of tension.


3. Carrots? Yes, there were some awkward moments with carrots when they tried to make a bridge of carrots connecting their bodies. This was the least successful event because in a bag of carrots, size and shape are not uniform.


4. Icarus – Jennifer loaded Samuels arms with clothes pins while he lay in a fallen position. After his arms had turned to wings, Samuel struggled to remove the pegs without the use of his hands. As the pegs fell, Jennifer picked them up with her high-heeled hands.


5. One latex glove and a bicycle pump. For the last event, they tried to pump up a latex glove using a tyre pump while attached to each other with scarves. Along with using the scarves as a restriction, I did not allow them to use their hands. The idea was to pump for a timed ten minutes or until the glove burst. It took them six minutes to for the glove to burst.


These experiments in movement were more like performance art pieces than a typical life drawing class. Drawing was challenged by not only almost constant movement but by the sheer awe of watching the two complete their objectives. The tea ceremony was fascinating and the scarf balancing provided a wealth of studies.


If you are interested in collaborating with me, you can email me at and if you are curious about Coffe & Sponges Salons, here is more about them:


Visual artist Samuel Overington and theatre artist Jennifer Farmer team together as Coffee+Sponge to offer SHARPEN MY PENCIL,  theatrical, character-based life drawing salons which will explode the preconceptions of sex, gender, disability, race and sexuality.  £8 drop in or £56 if booking 8 sessions (£28 for 4). Fee includes an art pack of paper, charcoal and board as well as tea, coffee and yes, cake. Check out for more details or email


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© Kyla Harris 2017.

Kyla Harris’s recent body of work stems from numerous NHS appointments and her experience of restricted mobility. Her installations and sculptures are of surrealistic domestic objects made from primarily used or expired medical supplies. Notions of dis/comfort, sustainability and the home are left as remnants of subverted interiors for the viewer to experience. Because of Harris's disability, much of her sculpture is collaborative. She has carers or personal assistants that construct and assist in the making of her work.

The artworks and journal of Kyla Harris