Paper sculpture – cut, fold, construct with Richard Sweeney

Ref: SSS31561

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About this course

This course is a hands-on exploration into the world of paper-craft that will help you to see beyond the two-dimensional sheet of paper and begin to explore the three-dimensional potential of this versatile material.

Course Description

This course is an accessible, hands-on exploration into the world of paper-craft. You will be introduced to a range of processes and techniques that will help you to see beyond the two-dimensional sheet of paper and begin to explore the three-dimensional potential of this versatile material.

Starting with an introduction to paper-craft, you will be looking at the basic skills and techniques through demonstration and playful experimentation. You will then apply these skills to a series of mini paper sculpture projects, including creating simple forms from templates and creating an abstract three-dimensional piece. These projects are designed to deepen your understanding of paper sculpture. The techniques shown will include free-form folding and basic geometric construction for modular form making. With this deeper understanding, you will apply what you have learnt to develop your own project, in consultation with the tutor. You will be given the opportunity to realise your own paper sculpture, which can be as ambitious as time will allow. The tutor will be able to provide you with further techniques and the best possible approaches for achieving this. Guidance will be provided on how to document and develop your models through photography, and how to replicate and refine your models through template making where appropriate.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt a range of basic techniques and processes for creating three-dimensional paper sculptures. You will have a good understanding of how many artworks in paper are produced and be able to apply this knowledge towards producing your own work beyond this 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 themed on Impressionism, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition held in Paris in 1874. 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


  • On this course, the College will supply some of the materials, including masking tape, cartridge paper 160gsm and 220gsm, Bockingford 190gsm and 300gsm, UHU glue, glue gun and glue sticks to be shared amongst the group. All tools required (scalpel, steel ruler, embossing tool, spray mister and French curves) to use whilst on the course.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a selection of art materials – paints, papers, glues, sketchbook, pencil, pencil sharpener, craft scalpel (not Stanley knife) and replacement blades.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials, including paints, papers and glues
  • Sketchbooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, 30cm steel rules, craft scalpels and replacement blades
  • Available from tutor:
  • Embossing tools, French curves, scalpels, compasses

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Richard Sweeney

Richard studied 3D Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. Concentrating his study on paper folding techniques, he has since explored the medium to develop a sculptural practice. He has held workshops internationally and lectured at several institutions including the RCA. Richard exhibits work worldwide and has authored a book on paper sculpting methods, Paper Sculpture: Fluid Forms (published November 2021) by Schiffer Publishing..


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

Courses of interest

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.