Sculpting with plaster with John Blakeley

Modelling, casting and other techniques

Ref: SLW11768

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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. Develop ideas and sculptural forms.

Course Description

Learn how to work with plaster and make use of the unique quality of immediacy that it offers. You will be guided through the key processes including how to build a basic armature, adding on and carving away plaster to advance your knowledge and skills of both the medium and sculptural form.

You will first learn to translate your ideas or source material, such as sketches or photographs, from two-dimensions into three-dimensions, 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 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


  • Materials to make the armature and plaster shared amongst the group.
  • The shop stocks some of the materials required for this course.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring images as starting point.
  • A small water spray
  • Apron or paper overalls, old shoes
  • An old kitchen knife
  • Any tools you already have – chisels, rasps etc

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Wet and dry paper
  • Surform blades – curved, flat and ½ round
  • Metal spatula
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


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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