Blacksmithing: Ideas, design and techniques with Cara Wassenberg

Blacksmithing and metalworking

Ref: SSS11656

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About this course

You will be introduced to different blacksmithing techniques and use both hand tools and the power hammer to form hot steel. You will develop your own project ideas and should expect to produce a finished piece.

Course Description

You will be introduced to fundamental blacksmithing processes and approaches to design. You will utilise different blacksmithing techniques and use both hand tools and the power hammer to form hot steel. You will look at the origins of design ideas and stages in the design process. You will develop your own project ideas and should expect to produce a significant piece of work. Working in the forge, you will be shown how to draw down, upset, bend, twist, hot cut, punch, and weld hot metal by using both hand tools and the power hammer as you create a finished metal design. Discussion of the characteristic forms and qualities achievable in steel through the use of these techniques will help inform your design, and you will look at the work of other blacksmiths and the origins of design ideas and the stages in the design process.

All abilities, including complete beginners, are welcome. The course does require some physical exertion and a moderate level of fitness is required i.e to be able to hammer or do up a vice with ease. Most importantly, however, will be a commitment to your project, and curiosity about technique and process. The focus of the course is not just about mastering blacksmithing techniques, but also about how to respond in a creative way to both a design challenge and the material properties of steel, its potential and limitations.

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

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

Included

  • Metal and fuel – please note that this covers basic materials and if students use large amounts of metal they will be charged.
  • Protective Clothing supplied:
  • Leather aprons, work gloves, safety spectacles and ear defenders are provided in the Forge.
  • You may wish to bring any of the above, 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.

What students need to bring

  • Sketchbook, pens
  • Images of ideas that might inspire your design e.g. the design work of others you admire, natural forms that inspire you, a potential location for your piece of work.
  • You will need protective clothing suitable for workshop use, together with steel toe capped boots. 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.
  • For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. Students must provide their own footwear and bring them with them 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.
  • Gloves are provided but if you have particularly large or small hands, your own work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbooks, pens.
Please note: This course is held in the Forge which is 10 minutes walk from the main house through the walled garden, or can be accessed by car. You will have morning coffee and afternoon tea at the nearby Carrington Studio and return to the main house for lunch. Tutor supervision is required at all times when students work in the forge. The tutor’s instruction on health and safety will include access to and use of the power hammer.

Tutors

Cara Wassenberg

Cara Wassenberg is a sculptor with 25 years' experience of working in steel, copper and glass. She trained at University of the Creative Arts, Farnham and teaches part-time on the BA Metalwork course at UCA. She makes sculpture for galleries, exhibitions and to commission.

Accommodation

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

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