Introduction to bronze casting with Stephen Coles

Ref: SLW31874

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About this course

During this introductory bronze casting course, you will make a relief sculpture and learn how to produce a traditional greensand mould. The works will be cast and you will then fettle, clean and patinate your finished work.

Course Description

Learn the basic processes involved in creating a sculptural work in bronze. These techniques are steeped in a long and rich history, spanning the globe from ancient Samaria to the Kingdom of Benin to contemporary works on London’s own Fourth Plinth. As you work, you will discover some of the fascinating history and lore associated with the craft.

You will model a relief sculpture and then learn to create a mould using traditional greensand techniques. You will then see the fiery spectacle of metal casting as your moulds are filled with bronze that has been melted with an oil fired furnace (using recycled cooking oil).. You will learn the basics of fettling (cleaning and finishing) and patination as you complete your pieces using basic metalworking tools.


Evening welcome

Introduction to bronze casting, including brief history, process overview, health and safety and housekeeping.

Day 1


Pattern making and modelling in clay. Discussion about design, undercuts and technical considerations.


Create sand moulds. Discussion about types of sand, best practices for ramming up moulds. Terms and technical considerations.

Aim: All moulds will be packed in sand, ready for opening and dressing.

Day 2


Dressing sand moulds. Discussion about how metal flows through moulds and best methods for gating, spruing and other technical considerations.


Light furnace and cast works. Discussions about how the furnace works and considerations for casting metal.

Aim: All work will be cast in bronze.

Day 3


Open moulds, clean and fettle works, discussions about basic metal work, best practices for finishing work. Patination of work: Discussions about the mechanics of patination and techniques.


Finish patination and waxing of pieces, discussions about care for pieces.

Aim: You will complete a relief sculpture in bronze to a professional standard.

Due to the time constraints of the course, you should contact the tutor via the bookings office on: [email protected] to discuss your ideas for your piece ahead of time.


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


  • All of the materials will be provided, including bronze, moulding sand, fuel and consumables.

What students need to bring

  • Ideas or objects for reference, and sketchbooks and pencils if desired

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Items are available from the College Shop, subject to availability
  • Available from tutor:
  • Bronze up to half a kilo is included in the course materials fee. Any additional bronze will be available at £25/Kilo if needed.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals). Safety boots if possible. Bronze casting requires safety equipment such as eye shields and these will be provided. Tutor supervision required at all times. Please note: Your workshop will be in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. The Sculpture Courtyard is open on one side, so be prepared for any type of weather. Morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch.


Stephen Coles

Stephen Coles studied at Carmarthen School of the Arts, before completing a master’s degree in sculpture at Alfred University, New York. After teaching there, he returned to the UK to begin his own foundry practice. In addition to teaching at institutions throughout the UK and Europe, Stephen works with artists, museums and conservationists creating bespoke works in metal.


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

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Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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