Sculpture: wax portraiture
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
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
Course Code: VU988
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
This will be an introduction and investigation into the structure and musculature of the human head and neck using
the life model as reference. You will use all of this information to create your own sculpture in wax using traditional
bust armature and modelling skills.
The wax sculpture stands as a finished artwork; however, it can be taken to a foundry for casting. Please note the
modelling wax used is not compatible for the loss wax process.
What will we cover?
• Basic anatomy of the head and neck.
• Making observational working drawings and measurements of the life-model.
• How to make and construct a traditional bust armature.
• Introduction to wax modelling.
• Using critical decision-making skills in relation to your own artwork and self-expression, as a member of the group.
• Brief history of wax sculptures.
• Introduction to the safe use of equipment, materials, procedures and practice in the sculpture studio.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Have an understanding of the skull and major muscles of the head and neck.
• Name and illustrate how to make preparatory observational drawings and measurements ready for sculpture.
• Name how to make a traditional bust armature.
• Use an armature and demonstrate improved wax modelling skills towards finished sculpture.
• Work independently and make aesthetic judgements to develop self-expressed finished sculpture.
• Name 3 artists and/or cultures using wax as a sculptural medium.
• Work safely with the materials, equipment and procedures of the subject.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
All levels welcome. It is useful if you have some sculptural experience, for example working in 3-dimensions,
however, beginners are very welcome.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, hand-outs and for
health and safety information. You will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use
numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
There will be whole group and small group demonstrations and plenty of one-to-one help. There will be the opportunity for small group evaluations and discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no extra costs, all basic materials are provided. However, if you have your own modelling tools please do
bring them along.
Please bring a sketchbook/notebook, pencil, camera and an apron/overall.
You must wear sturdy shoes. Please also wear old working clothes 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 similar course 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, or pewter and much more! Alternatively, you
may wish to progress onto the year-long City Lit Sculpture course VU841, which helps you to build your own
individual sculpture practice and culminates with an exhibition.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 020
7492 2700 Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm.
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.