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Wood Sculpture

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course allows students to develop the basic skills of wood carving and some elements of construction and assemblage. During the first 2 days students will learn various techniques of carving with both hand tools and with basic power tools and establish a necessary level of basic skills. The course will consider both traditional and contemporary wood sculpture practice, basic cutting and joining techniques, treatment of wood surfaces, interior and exterior installation, wood colouring, relief and 3D carving techniques, the use and inclusion of found objects and materials, such as metal, plastics, driftwood etc. Thereafter the emphasis will be on giving each individual student a chance to develop in a direction which is suitable for their own abilities and aspirations and also allows for the input/development of more personal and creative ideas.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous experience of working with wood required. Some previous drawing experience desirable.

Special Infomation

Materials and equipment provided for students as part of the course and included in course fee:

  • Access to appropriate wood workshop for making sculpture
  • To the use of a range of wood working tools and equipment

Materials and equipment available for purchase during the course: (Estimated cost: £10 - £50 depending of usage)

  • A range of woods for wood carving and construction

Essentials Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves: (Estimated cost: £30 - £50 depending on usage)

  • Protective eyewear such as goggles
  • cycling mitts or similar if hand skin is soft
  • A notebook or sketchbook is useful

Additional recommended materials and equipment students can provide: (Estimated cost: £0 - £50 depending on usage)

  • Wood will be available to purchase during the course although other materials, i.e. driftwood, or portable found objects that students might want to bring because they are of specific interest would be useful to take along where possible.

Content of Course

The course teaching is delivered over weekly class sessions totalling 27.5 hours. Depending on the specific timetable of the occurrence of the course, this will either be delivered over ten weeks of 2.75 hour class sessions, eleven weeks of 2.5 hour class sessions or five weeks of 5.5 hour class sessions. Over the class sessions the course will cover:

  • Introduction to the workshop - Tour and discussion of the facilities of the wood workshop including relevant health and safety information.
  • Short discussion using visual examples of various contemporary and traditional wood sculptures.
  • Short demonstration of 3D wood carving techniques and introduction to the main range of hand tools. This will also include an introduction to various materials. Students will then work on their own sculpture/s as they will throughout the weeks, out with the scheduled talks and discussions, with guidance from the tutor.

  • Working on personal project and will include a talk and demonstration on further wood sculpture also including discussion of how to employ sketches, photographs and ideas into a 3D art work. A demonstration of relief carving.

  • Continue sculpture working.
  • A talk on construction and use of other materials within contemporary and traditional practice. Short group discussion.

  • Continue sculpture working.
  • A talk on Studio practice. Setting up of facilities, tool supplies etc. and things that are required if students wish to carry on making sculpture after the end of the course.

  • Complete sculpture working.
  • Demonstration on how to finish and present work ie colouring, sanding, oiling, photographing, etc. and group discussion on any other relevant information.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be based and delivered in specialist art studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Each week, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor who will negotiate and agree a ‘directed study plan’ for work to be undertaken out with the class hours each week. This will include researching a range of suggested artists or designers and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness of the discipline being taught as well as how to annotate and evidence this within a sketchbook and practical outcomes. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, through attending classes and engaging in directed and independent study, students should be able to:


  • Research and develop a range of visual ideas sympathetic for working in wood and in 3 dimensions which explore a range of established sculptural practices.


  • show competence in a range of traditional and contemporary wood-carving and construction techniques to complete a range of ambitious 3D studies and sculptures in wood.


  • select and present range of sketches, studies, maquettes and finished sculptures in wood which demonstrate the use of research and individual enquiry.


Core Readings

BALKENHOL, S., 1998, Sculptures and Drawings, Hirshorn Museum, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz
GIMENEZ, C., GALE, M., 2004, Constantin Brancusi -The essence of things, London: Tate Gallery
CURTIS, P., 1998, Barbara Hepworth, London: Tate Gallery

Web Sources

Specific Web resources will be determined by course tutors.

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.


All practice-based art and design 10 credit courses are assessed by the submission of a portfolio of visual art and/or design works within the discipline studied. This will include a selection of resolved art and/or design works, preparatory studies, visual research and evidence of a contextual awareness through a completed sketchbook and/or visual journal. The work must be presented in a clear and professional manner appropriate to the discipline. The submission should include work undertaken within the class as well as directed and independent study out with the class. Typically, this will comprise:

  • Class Contact hours: 27.5 (work you do during the class)
  • Directed hours: 27.5 (work your tutor has set for you to do each week in your own time)
  • Independent Study Hours: 45 (work you set yourself to do, relevant to the discipline studied)

The combined submission will be assessed against the three learning outcomes for this course. These are equally weighted and each will be given a percentage grade. To pass, you must achieve a minimum of 30% in each learning outcome and an overall combined mark of 40% minimum.

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.

Student support

Please contact Art and Design Studies on 0131 650 4400 if you think you have any specific study requirements that may need to be put in place to enable you to study an Art and Design Studies course. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.