Introduction to sculpting in wax

Course Dates: 18/09/20 - 23/10/20
Time: 18:00 - 21:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Explore the versatility of wax as a sculptural material, by melting, joining and carving it to create a small wax relief sculpture. This course is perfect for both beginners and those wishing to refresh their skills. You will be guided through the sculptural techniques by a tutor who is a specialist in this area.

Your finished green wax relief sculpture can be kept, or you can join one of our mould making and casting courses to transform your sculpture into another material, for example bronze, pewter or Jesmonite. Please see the course outline below for more details.

This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit


What is the course about?

Wax is a fantastically versatile sculpting material to make your ideas ‘come alive’ in 3D form. You will work in a well-equipped sculpture room, with guidance and support from the tutor. On this course you will be introduced to the basic principles of design, and wax carving and moulding. You will then practice these techniques to create a wax relief sculpture. You will be in encouraged to experiment and explore at every stage to gain confidence in making.

Additionally, you will be introduced to the history of wax sculpture and take inspiration from other artists. To get the most from this course, students will be encouraged to make ongoing evaluation of their work-in-progress, and research artists that work in wax to expand and develop their own work.

An important element of the course is to learn and put into practice the Health & Safety of materials, tools and equipment used to sculpt with wax. This course is also an excellent starting point for those interested in mould making and casting.

What will we cover?

- A brief history of wax sculpture.
- How to research to make a basic design for a wax relief sculpture.
- An introduction to the various types of waxes used for the lost wax process and silicone rubber mould making.
- Wax tools and equipment used to carve and mould wax.
- Simple wax carving, filing and moulding to create a relief form.

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

- You will have explored and experimented with different sculptural techniques to create a finished wax relief sculpture.
- List tools & equipment needed for making wax sculpture.
- Name the different properties and uses of microcrystal and green wax.
- Analysis your work-in-progress to improve your final wax relief sculpture.
- Follow Health & Safety procedures for sculpting with wax.

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

This course is suitable for both complete beginners and those with some experience who wish to refresh their skills.

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

Teaching methods include group and individual demonstrations, and guidance from the tutor throughout the course. Group discussions are encouraged during classes to develop your knowledge. Research between classes is also encouraged, but not compulsory. For example, the research of contemporary and historical sculptors using the library, exhibitions and the internet, to develop your ideas.

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

All necessary materials and equipment will be provided and are included in the course fee. Stout footwear must be worn at all times in the sculpture studio. Making sculpture can get messy; therefore, we recommend that you wear old clothes. We also recommend that you bring a sketchbook/notebook and pencils to sketch and make notes. A camera is also useful to photograph your work.

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

The City Lit sculpture department offers a wide selection of courses that will allow you to progress from beginner to advanced and master a range of techniques and materials. After this course, you may wish to join a mould making and casting course to recreate your wax sculpture into bronze, pewter, or Jesmonite. Alternatively, you may wish to try our clay sculpture courses, such as VU225 Introduction to Life Sculpture and VU994 Start Clay Sculpture, for an equally tactile material to sculpt.

We offer a wide range of exciting sculpture courses in everything from figurative clay modelling, metalwork, stone and wood carving, mould making, casting in concrete, Jesmonite and pewter and much more. Alternatively, you may wish to progress onto the year-long City Lit Sculpture course which helps you to build your own individual sculpture practice and culminates with an exhibition in a London gallery.

Ask your tutor for advice or browse the City Lit website or prospectus for inspiration, or please contact our visual arts team by calling 020 7492 2700 Monday - Friday between 10am - 5pm, or emailing

Tutor Biographies
Shelley Wilson Tutor Website

Shelley Wilson is a multi award-winning national: international artist, a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors. Trained: Camberwell College of Art BA Hons Ceramics: Post-Graduate Sculpture Sir John Cass School of Art: Anatomy for the Artist at UCL. She has collaborated with the most eminent members of the scientific world to comment on topical science based & ethical issues, her exhibition Body Politic took the socio-political climate surrounding the General Election in 2010 as subject material in a celebration of the experiences of the 150 MP’s who stepped down at that time. Wilson’s inspiration is the human form, she combines the three disciplines of ceramics, sculpture, & photography. She explores expressive forms of visualization, experimentation, & interaction between materials & subject matter, taking inspiration from the physicality & psychology of the human form. Since 1989, Wilson has taught sculpture, ceramics, & drawing, from adult education - undergraduate including special needs. She has been Lead Artist in sculpture workshops at British Museum & National Gallery, awarded artists residencies schools in the UK & Europe.

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.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: VU222

Full Fri, eve, 18 Sep - 23 Oct '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £229.00
Senior fee: £229.00
Concession: £140.00

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.