Land art using natural materials – interventions and sculpture with Dan Lobb

Modelling, casting and other techniques

Ref: SSS11645

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About this course

You will be working mostly outdoors, within a chosen space in the grounds of the College (and a day at the beach), to explore making in the environment using found and fallen natural materials. You will create ephemeral work which you will document with photography or video.

Course Description

You will be working mostly outdoors, within a chosen space in the grounds of West Dean College for most of the course plus a one-day trip to the beach to explore making in an alternative environment.

Starting with discussion regarding being present and ‘mindful’ in your chosen place. Here, you will consider the opportunities for creativity that are abundant all around using found natural materials to create ephemeral work. You will select and work quietly with your outdoor location.

There will be discussion about making work in the environment which will inform a certain approach. Alexander Pope wrote in 1731 “All must be adapted to the Genius and the use of the Place, and the Beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it.”

You will begin by questionning your approach: Is the work directed by the existing site and forms that can be found and ‘enhanced’ or is the work more geometric, installing a sense of pattern or order into a ‘natural' environment? You will give consideration to climatic conditions such as sun, shade, rain, wind and so on. Again questioning your working practice. Is the work ‘animated’ by the environment with elements such as wind, fire or water flow? Is the work ‘animated’ by time either in creation or destruction?

Documentation, either through photography or video, will be a key component of the course. The works will fade back into the landscape from whence they came and only the documentation will be left.

Group discussions, critiques of work in progress and individual exploration of joining techniques with thorn staples, weaving, anchoring and using only what is present to make the work, will encourage individual expression.

A group review of the photographs or video documentation of the work produced will conclude the course.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

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

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening, with a surrealist theme inspired by Salvador Dalí, who was one of West Dean founder, Edward James’ friends and collaborators. (Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.)

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully. A detailed timetable will be given to all students on arrival.

(Please note that plans may be subject to change depending on GOV.UK guidance at the time.)


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 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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • On this course materials will be ‘found’, we will use fallen natural materials, stones, pebbles, earth, etc.

What students need to bring

  • Some joining materials may also be used, if desired, these may be wire, string, bees wax, bees wax candle, etc. Fire may also be used to transform materials or alter the work, matches, firelighters, kindling may be required. Students are recommended to bring materials related to ideas to be explored during the course.
  • Handtools may be useful, a penknife, pruning saw, trowel, secateurs, craft knife, bradawl, etc.
  • Documentation will be vital, photography/ video may be used. Please bring a camera. We will discuss documentation/ editing/ presentation of the work. Photo/ video editing will be discussed, there will be access to desktop computers on-site to facilitate this. You may wish to bring a personal laptop/ tablet if you have one.
Please wear appropriate clothing, you will be generally working outside all day whatever the weather. It’s important to be comfortable and dry, a hat for shade or shelter from the rain is useful. Kneeling mats may make spending time on the ground more comfortable.


Dan Lobb

Dan studied Fine Art Sculpture at Winchester School of Art, and has an MA in Garden Design and Landscape Architecture. He was featured on the BBC's Gardeners World. He has been teaching for 18 years, primarily at the Arts University in Bournemouth. An RHS show garden judge and member of the Society of Garden Designers.


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

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