Small scale forged sculpture – blacksmithing with Cara Wassenberg

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: S2D11206

Suitable for all

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About this course

Make your own small scale sculpture using forged metal components. You will develop your ideas and learn some simple forging techniques that will lead to the creation of your own individual piece.

Course Description

The aim of this short course will be to make your own small scale sculpture from forged steel elements with an approximate height of no more than 50 cm high.

Initially on the first evening after a short health and safety talk we will look at the sculptural work of other metalworkers and blacksmiths. We will discuss how through simplification and abstraction the essence of something can be shown through using steel as a material whether it is figurative, something of the natural world (for example floral) or simply abstract. You may also consider making a simple kinetic sculpture that has movement. It would be helpful if you are able to bring along images of possible ideas or something that inspires you.

On the first morning appropriate techniques and materials will be presented to the group as a whole by the tutor for example drawing and twisting down a bar, using the power hammer for forging and creating texture and using the oxy acetylene torch for more precise manipulation. Then in this project led course you will be helped to develop your own piece through an individual conversation with the tutor and encouraged to consider balance and composition using individual or multiple elements. When multiple parts are used mig welding will be our main method of joining. You will then forge the elements of your piece using a simple notebook sketch (or even a chalked line drawing on the work bench) as a guide.

On the final day you will complete your sculptures. Some flat plate will be made available to serve as bases if they are not self-supporting. It will be possible to wire brush and wax your piece prior to taking it home. Your sculpture can be painted or left to take on a natural rust patina if it is to be sited outdoors.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • All fuel costs and metal that is stocked by the College
  • Angle
  • Rebar
  • 12mm round
  • 12mm square
  • Flat 20x5mm
  • Plate (for bases) 10 mm thick aprox.20cm x 20 cm
  • Students must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, work gloves, welding gauntlets and goggles can be borrowed from the Forge. Other protective equipment – e.g. welding helmets and ear defenders are also available in the Forge. 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.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook,pens
  • Images of ideas that might inspire your design e.g. the design work of others you admire, natural forms or other images that inspire you, a potential location for your piece of work.
  • Clothing and Safety Equipment: Students must wear suitable protective clothing for the course. You will need clothing suitable for workshop use , you will need warm clothes to layer up preferably made of natural fibres, together with steel toe capped boots. 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.
  • 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 to wear on the course. 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.most tool hire shops and builders merchants as well as online.
  • 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.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbooks, pens.
Please note: This course is held in the Forge which is 10 minutes walk from the main house through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. We have morning coffee and afternoon tea at the Old Dairy but return to the main house for lunch. Please note that 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.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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