Modelling, casting and other techniques

Sculpting with plaster with John Blakeley

Ref: SLW08862

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Learn techniques to make sculpture with plaster including building basic armature, adding on, carving away and finishing. Make use of the immediacy of the medium to develop ideas and sculptural forms.

Course Description

You first learn to translate your ideas or source material, such as sketches or photographs, from 2D to 3D, supported by your tutor. Each day starts with a demonstration of a different technique, including building an armature specifically for plasterwork that can be adapted during the development of a piece; combining plaster with other materials; using tools or hands to apply the plaster; and carving and sculpting the plaster into a final piece.

On the last day the tutor will demonstrate finishing techniques.

By the end of the course will know how to work with plaster to make use of the fluidity of the medium, how to develop initial ideas into three dimensional form, and be inspired to continue to explore sculpture after 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


  • Included in the course is the cost of materials to make the armature and plaster shared amongst the group.

What students need to bring

  • Bring images as starting point.
  • Small water spray
  • Apron or paper overalls, old shoes
  • An old kitchen knife
  • Any tools you already have - chisels, rasps etc

Available to buy

  • Wet and dry paper
  • Surform blades - curved, flat and ½ round
  • Metal spatula

The course is held in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is open to the elements on one side and is reached by a walk through the orchard in the kitchen garden or can be accessed by road. We come back to the house for lunch but not for morning coffee or afternoon tea as this is held in the Garden Restaurant. Please bring warm clothing for the start of the day and evenings.


John Blakeley

John Blakeley is a classically trained sculptor and has worked in the film industry for 25 years. His private and public commissions include work for Madame Tussauds.


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

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