Blacksmithing and metalworking

Sculpture from scrap with Peter Parkinson

Ref: S4D09043

Suitable for all

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1 place available

About this course

Take on the challenge of creating a sculpture from found metal objects assembled with blacksmithing techniques. You will visit a local scrapyard and then learn basic forging and joining processes. Next consider and respond to the design possibilities of your chosen recycled pieces, making a sculpture for your house or garden.

Course Description

The course offers you an exciting opportunity to discover the potential of making sculpture from the things we throw away. It begins with an initial experience of basic blacksmithing techniques and welding. It begins with a practical introduction in the Forge on the first evening, which also covers health and safety.

You are encouraged to bring suitable pieces of scrap steel with you, and at the beginning of the course we visit a scrap yard where you can buy items which take your interest. The focus of the course is a consideration of the visual possibilities these items offer - singly or as part of a structure - and through discussion and experiment, transforming them into individual pieces of sculpture, for house or garden. Sculptures may be made entirely from scrap - a three-dimensional collage of found components - or be made from a combination of scrap and new metal, re-working found pieces and combining them with newly forged material.

You will learn fundamental blacksmithing processes - tapering, bending, and hot cutting - as well as understanding MIG, TiG and stick welding techniques, for assembling different metals and components. The course offers an unusual opportunity to access and appreciate the extraordinary variety of scrap metal shapes and forms, and employ them in the creation of a significant piece of work.

Since the material in scrap yards is essentially unpredictable, while you may arrive with initial ideas, the emphasis will be on the development of projects by reacting directly to the potential of chance discoveries, using them as a source of ideas. You might expect to produce a number of small pieces or one larger piece of work during the course.


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 stock metal and fuel costs.

What students need to bring

  • 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 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, together with boots or shoes with steel toe protection. 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. Shorts do not provide necessary protection.
  • The College provides: Leather aprons, work gloves, safety spectacles, specialised welding helmets and goggles and ear defenders are provided in the Forge. You may wish to bring your own, 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

  • Items of drawing equipment will be available for purchase from the College Craft Shop. Other materials will be provided in the Forge.

Please note that tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in the forge.


Peter Parkinson

Peter Parkinson studied at the Royal College of Art, has worked as a designer, artist blacksmith, and writer, and extensively as an art college lecturer. His work includes small gallery pieces, architectural metalwork and public art. He has written books on blacksmithing and sculpture, most recently Making Sculpture from Scrap Metal.


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

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