Blacksmithing and metalworking

Metalsmithing – forge a three-dimensional textured panel with Cara Wassenberg

Ref: S1D10392


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About this course

Using steel plate, your own simple handmade tools and the forge power hammer you will create a pictorial three-dimensional textured background that can be effectively illuminated by candle light.

Course Description

The aim of this day course is to make your own three-dimensional textured background that can be effectively illuminated by candle light. You can find an example of the tutor making this project in a short video on the College's Instagram page. Using the College's welder, grinder and power hammer, you will understand how effective marks can be made on metal by using indirect contact, for example a simple handmade swage.

The main material for your background will be 5mm thick steel plate provided by the college. Initially you will make two simple tools or swages using the mig welding and the electric grinder (with a cutting disc attatchment). Next, you will experiment to see what marks your new tools will make when impressed into hot metal. Finally, you will use them to create your background. This might, for example, represent a field of flowers, corn or a swirling sea. Your plate can then be trimmed to size.

This will then be curved to ensure that it will stand. Once you are happy with the result, the edges can be polished and the front wirebrushed and waxed.

This project could make a great present or decorative item for your own home and the background comes to life when a tea light candle is placed in front.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials, including steel.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook and pen.
  • Clothing and Safety Equipment: Students must wear suitable protective clothing for the course.
  • For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots or shoes when undertaking a course in the Forge. Students must bring their own footwear. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Safety boots can be purchased from most tool hire shops and builders' merchants, as well as online.
  • You will need clothing suitable for workshop use. Please note that cotton or wool clothing is preferable to nylon or other synthetics. A pair of cotton jeans is far more protective than a pair of nylon trousers.
  • Protective Clothing Supplied:
  • Leather aprons, work gloves, safety spectacles and ear defenders are provided in the Forge, and suitable protective clothing must be worn.
  • You may wish to bring any of the above, if you have them. If for example you have particularly large or small hands, your own work gloves are likely to be a better fit. Steel toe capped boots as essential. These are obligatory for safety reasons and you will not be able to enter the workshop without them.
Please note: Registration takes place at the College 8.50–9.05 am. This course is held in the Forge which is a 10 minute walk from the main College through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. We have morning coffee and afternoon tea at in the Old Dairy, but return to the main College for lunch. Tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in the Forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer.


Cara Wassenberg

Cara Wassenberg is a sculptor with 25 years' experience of working in steel, copper and glass. She trained at University of the Creative Arts, Farnham and teaches part-time on the BA Metalwork course at UCA. She makes sculpture for galleries, exhibitions and to commission.

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