Blacksmithing – small forged sculpture with Cara Wassenberg

Ref: SWE32021

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About this course

Make your own small scale sculpture, using forged metal components. You will develop your ideas and learn some simple forging techniques that will lead to the creation of your own individual piece.

Course Description

Make your own small scale sculpture from forged steel elements with an approximate height of no more than 50 cm high.

On the first evening, you will look at the sculptural work of other metalworkers and blacksmiths. Discussion will follow, how, through simplification and abstraction, the essence of something can be shown through using steel as a material, whether it is figurative, something of the natural world (for example floral) or abstract. You may also consider making a simple kinetic sculpture that has movement. It would be helpful if you are able to bring along images of possible ideas or something that inspires you.

On the first morning, appropriate techniques and materials will be presented to the group as a whole by the tutor, for example, drawing and twisting down a bar, using the power hammer for forging and creating texture and using the oxy acetylene torch for more precise manipulation. Then, in this project led course, you will be helped to develop your own piece through an individual conversation with the tutor and encouraged to consider balance and composition, using individual or multiple elements. When multiple parts are used, mig welding will be our main method of joining. You will then forge the elements of your piece, using a simple notebook sketch (or even a chalked line drawing on the work bench) as a guide.

On the final day, you will complete your sculptures. Some flat plate will be made available to serve as a base, if your sculpture is not self-supporting. It will be possible to wire brush and wax your piece, prior to taking it home. Your sculpture can be painted or left to take on a natural rust patina, if it is to be sited outdoors.


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 fuel costs and metal that is stocked by the College
  • Mild steel: angle, 12mm round, 12mm square, flat 30 x 5mm and tube
  • Mild steel plate (for bases): 10mm thick, approximately 20cm x 20cm

What students need to bring

  • A sketchbook and pens
  • Images of ideas that might inspire your design, e.g. the design work of others you admire, natural forms or other images that inspire you, a potential location for your piece of work
  • 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:
  • 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.


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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