Sculpt a life-sized portrait head and aim to capture the sitter's essence. Sensitive observation will inform your clay modelling through a whole day, with two models being used. You will then hollow out your second portrait head for firing and receive advice on mounting and finishing techniques.
Portrait sculpture considers mass, form and attitude, the feelings conveyed by both artist/sitter and the asymmetry of the head, all of which contribute to the character of our being. The course will suit those who wish to try their hand, through to more experienced sculptors who want challenging objective feedback and some valuable time with experienced portrait models in excellent working conditions.
The underlying structural form will be seen as vital in capturing recognisable character; the sensitivity of minor forms (for instance around eyes, mouth and nose) can only support and enhance. Works are also given life by the texture of the working processes with the material, in this case clay.
You will work directly from the model for 10 hours. Demonstrations, using students' works for reference, intersperse these periods of quiet concentration.
The aims of the course are:
• to introduce a process to complete a life-size terracotta portrait work, working directly from the model;
• to improve awareness of sculptural form through overcoming preconceived thoughts in working from the figure, contrasting anatomical knowledge with what we see;
• to improve awareness of sculptural qualities through sensitive working with clay in the round;
• to introduce practical discussion around the processes and/or aesthetics involved with drying, firing, mounting, sealing and patinating terracotta or other clay works.
You should achieve improved observation skills and a recognition of the factors which affect how we use our eyes effectively, alongside a greater awareness of sculpture and the factors which improve sculptural form. Support is given for those wishing to work further in this area.
The objectives are to complete at least three portrait starts from two different models, a portrait mask (model 1) and a life size portrait head sketch (model 2) ready for kiln firing if so required.
First evening – A demonstration of the start of the modelling process; and question/answer session to prepare you for the start on day one.
Other evenings – two films linked to the course will be available to watch on evenings 2 and 3 to encourage discussion and respond to your individual needs.
Day 1 – Work from model 1 (male). Several starts as the best way to train eye and hand. Relaxation breaks throughout day considering various sculpture topics. Retaining a mask for firing.
Day 2 – Work from model 2 (female), slower working through the day with review breaks to challenge our work at every stage and keep a fresh eye.
Day 3 – Heads will be removed from pegs and hollowed for firing after a short discussion around photographing jobs whilst still on the armature. Discussion (with examples) will centre around the basics of kiln firing, their subsequent mounting, patination and display to set off works to their best.
Learning outcomes include clay modelling techniques from life, preparation of works for the kiln and subsequent kiln firing, kiln procedures, tools, clay and recycling of clay for sculpture, advice on photographing work prior to drying and firing and advice for mounting, sealing and patinating works.
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.
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.
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)
Providing models, all clay and firing costs.
All tools are provided for use during the course.
Comfortable clothing for ease of movement (and that you don't mind getting clay on).
From the College Craft Shop:
Wooden modelling tools
You will have the option of purchasing your head-peg armature
Please note: works will be ready for collection approximately eight weeks after the course. Hollowed clay can be taken home at the end of the course for your own re-use.
"An excellent course delivered to inspire confidence in learning a brand new skill with the ability to continue this process afterwards. Great fun, thought provoking and all the necessary information to take away. Thank you!"Kate, 2019
A tutor with 10 years experience teaching at West Dean on both short and degree courses, he has recently created bespoke short sculpture courses for the degree course at UCA, Canterbury, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, UEA.