Sculpture from recycled steel and forged metal with Cara Wassenberg

Ref: SLW33425

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About this course

Challenge yourself to create a sculpture from your found metal objects, assembled with blacksmithing techniques. Learn basic forging and joining processes to produce your own, unique sculpture.

Course Description

An exciting opportunity to discover the potential of making sculpture from the metal things we throw away. The course will begin with a talk by the tutor on the relevant work of other artists using scrap metal (such as Helen Denerley and even Bob Dylan), techniques and materials and a discussion of ideas on a slide show on the first evening.

The next morning, you will be in the forge with a practical introduction to basic blacksmithing techniques and welding.

As part of the course, you should bring a few suitable pieces of scrap steel with you. For the most part, they should be made from ferrous metal (steel that is magnetic) as non-ferrous metals, such as brass, aluminium and zinc can be bolted together but are hard to weld.

The focus of the course is a consideration of the visual possibilities these items offer, singly or as part of a structure, and through discussion and experimentation, transforming them into individual pieces of sculpture for house or garden. Sculptures may be made entirely from scrap: a three-dimensional collage of found components, or be made from a combination of scrap and new metal, re-working found pieces and combining them with newly forged material.

You will learn fundamental blacksmithing processes, such as tapering, bending and hot cutting. You will also gain an understanding of MIG welding techniques and riveting for assembling different metals and components. While you may arrive with initial ideas about your shapes and forms, the challenge will be to keep an open mind, which will help you to create something truly unique. You might expect to produce a number of small pieces or one larger piece of work during 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


  • On this course, the College will supply all stock metal and fuel costs.
  • The forge is stocked with hand tools – files, rasps, etc. for you to use.
  • Goggles (must be worn), leather aprons, work gloves, welding gauntlets, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the College Forge.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a few suitable pieces of scrap steel. Perhaps these are old tools and implements from your garden shed that might otherwise be thrown away, or you could make a trip to your local recycling centre. Ideas for suitable scrap items might be: washers, chains, saw blades, pliers, window stays, old garden tools, trowels or anything with an unusual profile or form; even tin cans are great for cutting up and adding detail. Ideally, all should be made from ferrous metal (steel that is magnetic). Please note, non-ferrous metals such as brass, aluminium and zinc can be bolted together but are hard to weld. Also, rusty, pitted material can be very texturally interesting but will require some time to clean/grind if you want to weld it.
  • Please also bring:
  • Sketchbook and pens
  • Working clothes
  • Steel toe capped boots
  • Plenty of water
  • You will need to wear 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. Shorts do not provide necessary protection. For your safety, it is mandatory to wear steel toe capped safety boots when undertaking a course in the Forge. You must provide your own footwear and bring it with you 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.
  • You must wear goggles (provided) and suitable protective clothing for this course. Leather aprons, welding gauntlets, goggles, welding helmets and ear defenders can be borrowed from the Forge or you can bring them along if you have them. If, for example, you have particularly large or small hands, your own leather work gloves are likely to be a better fit.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of drawing equipment including sketchbooks and pens.

Additional information

Please note: This course will be in the Forge, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. As this course is held in the Forge, morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please note that tutor supervision is always required when you are working in the Forge. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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.


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

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

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.

Interested in a career in metalwork?

Our Foundation Degree in Metalwork will enhance your employment prospects, give you the skills to set up as a self-employed craftsperson or allow you to continue to higher education. Encompassing both silversmithing and blacksmithing, you will learn practical skills, material properties, placing your work in a broader context and historic metalworking techniques. Find out more