Carving in wood

Course Dates: 09/01/24 - 26/03/24
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
Have you ever fancied having a go at sculpting in wood? Or perhaps you are experienced at it but would like expert guidance to develop your ideas? This comprehensive course encourages wood carvers of all levels to bring along their ideas and see how they can be developed. You will be taught how to make models of your designs, upscale and transpose them, and use professional carving tools to produce beautiful pieces in wood.
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Full fee £499.00 Senior fee £399.00 Concession £324.00

Course Code: VU788

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Tue, eve, 09 Jan - 26 Mar '24

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This course aims to develop your understanding of sculpture through the medium of wood carving. Whatever your
previous experience, you will be guided in making models of your designs, transposing these to wood, and the skills of carving the wood itself. You will develop a strong understanding of form and mass, learn about the work of other wood carvers, and produce beautiful carvings to take home and inspire your further work.

What will we cover?

There will be discussion with illustrations on various aspects of carved sculpture, to give focus for the term’s work.You will be encouraged to make clay models (maquettes) of your ideas, before embarking on your carving. Your tutor will advise you on how to scale up your design onto the wood, and will give you guidance on the use and care of carving tools throughout the course. Advice will also be offered on displaying completed sculptures, and appropriate oils and varnishes.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Produce a suitable design in clay.
- Handle carving tools competently and safely.
- Carve in wood from your own ideas.
- Demonstrate an understanding of form and mass.
- Appreciate the work of other woodcarvers.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to all levels, from those who have no previous knowledge or experience of woodcarving to those who have carved in wood (or stone) previously.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be group talks on issues concerning the whole class; otherwise teaching will be on an individual basis.
Students are encouraged to develop their own designs with advice from the tutor, for example, to sculpt a head, a
naturalistic subject or an abstract theme. You are also encouraged to bring sketchbooks with your own ideas for
discussion with the tutor.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

With advice from the tutor, you may choose a piece of wood from our stock. The prices will vary depending on the type of wood and its size.

Prices start from £6 (10cm x 10cm x 10cm)

Tools are provided by City Lit, although you may wish to buy rifflers (very small files) for reaching detail. If you wish to buy a set of woodcarving tools for yourself, you will be advised of suppliers during the course.

You must wear flat sturdy shoes with a closed toe. Please also wear old working clothes that you do not mind getting messy or bring overalls.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The City Lit sculpture department offers a wide range of exciting courses that will allow you to progress from beginner to advanced and learn a range of techniques. After this course you may wish to join a course in a material or process you have tried before to develop your skills further, or try something completely different. We offer courses in prop making, metal, clay, wax, carving in stone and wood, mould making and casting in Jesmonite, and much more! You may wish to progress onto the year-long City Lit Sculpture course VU841, which helps you to build your own individual sculpture practice.

We are constantly adding new courses. Please ask your tutor for advice or browse the City Lit website for inspiration. It is also possible to contact our visual arts team by emailing, or calling 0203 880 2415 Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm.

Alexandra Harley

Alexandra Harley is a sculptor with an immersive engagement with materials working in Stratford, London. She began teaching woodcarving at City Lit in 1985 and has taught other materials including bronze, stone and life modelling. She was elected to the Royal Society of Sculptors in 2000 and The London Group since 2017. She began studying sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art under Katherine Gilli and Glyn Williams and at St Martins School of Art under Tim Scott. Alexandra Harley has had several prestigious fellowships in Japan and the USA and was awarded the Brian Mercer Fellowship spending time in the Mariani Bronze Foundry, Italy, in 2016. Exhibitions include the ING Discerning Eye, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Society of Sculptors Summer Exhibition, Creekside Open, Cork Street Open and the London Group Open; she has an extensive international CV and work in private collections. Her sculptures seek the capture of a fleeting moment and engage with the suspension of movement by fixing a physical interpretation of a brief and transitory fragment in time. With an internal energy pulsing through the complex constructions, her sculptures evade a single analysis.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.