Bronze bowl workshop with Stephen Coles

Ref: SWE32774

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About this course

Learn the basic processes involved in creating a bronze vessel using carving techniques and gain a greater, hands-on understanding of metal casting from mould making through to patination.

Course Description

For thousands of years humans have been creating vessels out of bronze for many purposes from ceremonial basins containing sacred objects to practical receptacles for food and drink. From the first smelting of copper and tin, bronze has been used as a medium for human expression through form and mark-making.

During this introductory level course, you will learn the basic processes involved in creating a bronze bowl form, using carving techniques. Please come with your ideas and inspirations for your piece. No experience in sculpture is necessary.

You will design a bowl focusing on the use of positive and negative space and how linear form is translated into three-dimensions. After preparing your mould, you can then see the fiery spectacle of metal casting as the moulds are filled with liquid metal. You will then learn the basics of fettling (cleaning and finishing) using basic metalworking tools as well as patination.


Day 1


Welcome and discussion about design, drawing, undercuts and other technical considerations. You will sketch potential designs and learn techniques for carving into your sand blocks to prepare your mould for casting.


You will carve your mould.

Cure surface of the mould with fire, close, cup and secure mould for casting.


Light furnace and cast pieces!

Day 2


Open mould, clean and fettle work, discussions about best practices for finishing work.

Demonstration of patination, the colouring and treatment of the surface of metal.


You will patinate your piece.

Demonstration of polishing and waxing of bronze works.

The aim is that you will complete a bronze bowl to a professional standard by the end of 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 tutor will supply some of the materials including 1kg of bronze, prepared silica sand moulds, patination chemicals and wax, mould wash and sundries. The College will supply some of the materials including Scotchbrite pads, sandpaper, oil for the furnace, kiln dried sand and other sundries.

What students need to bring

  • Students should bring ideas and sketches or materials for inspiration for their desired bowl design.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials including sketchbooks and pencils.

Additional information

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


Stephen Coles

Stephen Coles studied at Carmarthen School of the Arts, before completing a master’s degree in sculpture at Alfred University, New York. After teaching there, he returned to the UK to begin his own foundry practice. In addition to teaching at institutions throughout the UK and Europe, Stephen works with artists, museums and conservationists creating bespoke works in metal.


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.

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