About this course

Six students consider six sculptural themes with six materials over six days. Explore with clay, wire, wax, wood, soap and found objects. Take inspiration from the reclining figure, the South Downs landscape, the human head, sound, improvisation and story telling. Experiment and uncover your sculptural voice.

Course Description

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 two models, the surrounding South Downs landscape, sound, music and your own emotions, experiment with how materials can express these ideas and forms. There is time to explore further in your chosen area.

The College has a rich surrounding landscape which has influenced many artists. You will explore three-dimensional form in response to six different influences, including the landscape, reclining figure, the portrait head, music/sound and your own emotions, and to explore a variety of sculptural materials in the studio and as sculptural ‘sketches’ in the field. On the landscape day, you will need to be able to walk a gentle 1.5 miles in the countryside on decent walking ground. Through a process of structured exercises and experimentation, you will extend your field of enquiry – perhaps what excites you most – to develop a longer sculptural study and perhaps a larger sculpture (up to 24 inches).

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

By the end of the course, you will have gained an appreciation of six 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 whilst being within your supportive sculpture studio environment and community.

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 themed on Impressionism, celebrating the150th anniversary of the first Impressionists exhibition held in Paris in1874. 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.


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


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing a model, all clay and and firing costs.
  • Safety glasses are provided by the workshop. All tools are provided.

What students need to bring

  • Comfortable clothing for ease of movement (and that you don't mind getting clay on)
  • On the landscape day, you will need to be able to walk a gentle 1.5 miles in the countryside on decent walking ground. You will also need to be prepared for rain.
  • 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

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including: wooden modelling tools, cheesewire cutters, sketchpads, pencils and pens.

Additional information

FIRING YOUR WORK Fill in the form supplied if you wish to leave your work at the College for firing. Please note that your work will be kept for collection for six months from the date we inform you work is ready for collection. Firing of raw, finished pieces: You have two options: 1. Leave any raw, finished pieces that you wish to keep, for biscuit firing by the College, for collection within six months. 2. You take away your unfired work for firing 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.

Courses of interest

Paper sculpture – cut, fold, construct

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Modelling ceramic animals

4 to 7 Jul 2024 | West Dean
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Tutor: Alison Pink |
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Relief casting – using recycled aluminium

29 Jun 2024 | West Dean
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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.