Modelling, casting and other techniques

Exploring sculptural themes – figure, landscape, abstract with Jon Edgar

Ref: SSS08961

Suitable for all

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About this course

Work with a variety of materials such as clay, wire, wax and wood, to explore sculptural themes and forms. Through a series of exercises and taking inspiration from a model, West Dean's surrounding landscape, music or your own emotions, experiment with how materials can express these ideas and forms. There is then plenty of time to pursue a longer study in a chosen field.

Course Description

West Dean has a rich surrounding landscape which has influenced many artists. The aims of the course are to explore three dimensional form in response to four different influences, including the landscape, a model, music and your own emotions, and to explore a variety of sculptural materials in different working conditions (field, studio, whilst moving etc.). Through a process of structured exercises and experimentation, you will choose your material and a field of enquiry - perhaps what excites you most - to develop a longer sculptural study and produce a larger sculpture (up to 24").

Simple, single, sculpture materials provide a means of creating sculptural form without unnecessary visual complication. You begin working with clay, plasticine, wax, wire, soap and balsa, assessing each for their qualities until you find one to pursue your longer study with. You will make four small sculptures (6-9" in size) in four different materials and then discuss with the group the different responses. The tutor will then support you as you develop a longer study from one of these pieces.

By the end of the course you will have gained an appreciation of four sculptural materials and their use for modelling/building up and reduction/taking away from the block, where appropriate. You will also have an understanding of some of the sculptural qualities which contribute to strong form, and an ability to judge yours and others' work.

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your summer school week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (pre-booked)

• A celebration with dinner, entertainment and music

• Workshop displays of students' work and informal end-of-course group reviews


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing a model, all clay and other materials; and firing costs.
  • Saftey specs are provided by the course
  • All tools are provided

What students need to bring

  • Comfortable clothing for ease of movement (and that you don't mind getting clay on)
  • Come with an open mind. You do not need to be able to draw or sculpt, just to be enthusiastic about trying a little of everything!

Available to buy

  • Wooden modelling tools
  • Cheesewire cutter
  • Sketch pad for rough drawing, pencil or pen


1. Leave any raw, finished pieces that you wish to keep, for biscuit firing, basic glazing and re-firing by the College, for collection within six months.

2. Leave raw, finished pieces for biscuit firing at the College. You can then book a place on a Glazing Day and glaze your own work (allowing 4 weeks for your work to be biscuit fired). This work will be re-fired after glazing and available for collection within six months.

3. Take away your unfired pots for firing and glazing elsewhere.


Jon Edgar

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.


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

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