Woodcarving – a butterfly in limewood with Alex Jones

Ref: SSW30036

Location: West Dean
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About this course

This course is a short weekend with a timetable variation: 10am-5pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.

Learn the basic techniques and processes of woodcarving, as you carve the delicate wings of a butterfly, helping you to get to grips with the carver's tools. Choose your preferred butterfly from a selection of designs provided.

Course Description

During this course, you will be taken through the process of carving this beautiful insect. You will carve in lime, a wood favoured by the master carver of the 18th century, Grinling Gibbons. The subtle qualities of limewood bring sculpture to the fore, without having to wrestle with a troublesome grain, and this gives the opportunity for creating the illusion of the butterfly’s light delicate wings.

As you work, you will be taught to use woodcarving chisels safely, both with the mallet and by hand. You will be provided with a pre-cut piece of lime wood to carve, in order to speed up the process and allow you to get started quickly with the wood carving tools and the creation of form.

By the end of the weekend, you will have carved a finished butterfly. This can be simply clear-sealed on the day and waxed at your leisure or, if you wish to take it further, your tutor will advise you on the best approach of using pigments and paints.

Having completed the course, you will be able to plan and design further shallow relief carving projects and be in the perfect position to develop your new found skills further.


Timetable for 2 day, short weekend courses

Saturday, session one: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please arrive by 9.45am.

Sunday, session two: 9am-1pm & 2-4pm.

Lunch and tea/coffee is included.

Course Materials


  • The College will supply a piece of limewood, and a sheet of tracing paper.

What students need to bring

  • The College provides carving tools for use on the course, but you may bring any carving tools (chisels, mallets, gouges) you already have, if you wish. Please mark any tools you bring to the course with your name.
  • Graphite pencils/rubber/pencil sharpener/a few sheets of A4 paper
  • Wearing covered footwear is essential in the workshop.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Graphite pencils/rubber/pencil sharpener
  • A4 Paper and tracing paper

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes). Possible equipment restrictions in tutor absence.


Alexander Jones sculpture

Alex Jones

Alex Jones learnt his craft at City & Guilds Art College and in a traditional studio before concentrating commissions. His work can be seen at Durrell Wildlife Park, Jersey and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall. He has many pieces in private collections worldwide and has appeared on the BBC's Spring Watch and as a featured artist on the TV programme "Flog it!"


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

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more