Organically inspired sheet metal sculpture with Cara Wassenberg

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: S3D11539

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About this course

Develop your own organically inspired design for a sculpture or vessel in sheet metal. Explore a range of sheet metal techniques including spot and mig welding, riveting and fold forming.

Course Description

This course is an excellent opportunity to create an eye-catching small sculpture for your home or garden and explore some of the many ways of forming and joining sheet metal. Using an organic form as a starting point you will develop the design of your unique piece through sketches, the making of a simple model and discussions with your tutor. You will particularly look at the different ways of achieving a texture on steel, copper and aluminium.

Initially you will be introduced by the tutor, to the range of available materials, techniques and the workshop equipment and given some short introductory demonstrations.

With this knowledge you will start some hands on experimention with the materials, copper, aluminium and steel sheet and steel rod to gain confidence. This will lead on to you developing and finalising your own ideas and designs for your piece.

There are group demonstrations of techniques at appropriate points, and specific techniques are demonstrated to smaller groups or individually to you. The tutor will give help and advice to you when needed.

Techniques covered include spot welding, cutting, drilling, riveting, hammer/block forming and fold forming, raising, colouring and finishing. Also the making of simple tools to achieve different textures.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials required for the specific project and shared by the group.
  • All fuel costs and metal that is stocked by the College.

What students need to bring

  • Organic forms or natural objects for inspiration, such as seed pods, flowers, leaves, shells, stones fruit, etc which will be used as a starting point for the sculpture. Any other visual sources e.g photos (if possible printed out), books, pictures, sketches. A photo of where you think you might like to position your piece can be helpful. An image of another artist’s work that has inspired you.
  • For your safety it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the forge because there is so much heavy equipment. Students must provide their own footwear and bring it with them 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.
  • You will need clothing suitable for workshop use (please note that the workshop can sometimes feel cool/cold so please bring warm clothing). 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. Hair should be tied back and jewelry kept to a minimum.
  • 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.There is a lot of hammering in the forge during this course so you may want to protect your ears with the smaller internal ear plugs as well as the external ones provided by the college.The 3M E.A.R classic ear plugs are particularly effective.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook
  • Drawing materials
  • Protective gloves
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. Evening working – the forge is not open in the evening. Students must provide their own footwear and bring it with them to wear on the course. If you fail to bring suitable footwear, you will not be able to take part in the course. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


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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