This course has concessions available

Sculpture: Portrait And Life

Work from images of the model and concentrate on a portrait head or full figure sculpture. You will be able to learn all processes to complete two pieces per term including preparation for firing and finishing techniques.

Accessible to all people regardless of age and ability and aimed particularly at those with an interest in working with the human form as a focus for their creativity.

If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

Accessible to all people regardless of age and ability and aimed particularly at those with an interest in working with the human form as a focus for their creativity.
This class concentrates on the 'portrait head' or full figure modelling using a clothed model.

What does this course cover

We have a life model in the same pose for 2, 4 week sessions with the 5th & 10th week reserved for finishing processes. During that time students will be encouraged to work in a material of their choice. Mostly the material we use in this course will be clay, bit you may like to explore other processes such as wax, direct plaster, Plasticine, construction, etc.
We will pay particular attention to the skeletal and muscular structure of the face. We will hone our observational skills to produce a likeness of the model, and also explore other means of expression in the field of portraiture.
The following technical processes will be learned:
* Constructing and utilizing armatures for portrait heads.
* Applying clay to the armatures in a stable manner.
* Methods and use of clay modelling tools
* Characteristics and control of materials
* Removal of finished work from armatures.
* Preparation of work for firing.
* Bases for finished works.
Patination and finishing techniques
We will also consider: * Spatial, proportional and visual awareness. * Measuring techniques using callipers for comparative measurement. * General anatomical knowledge. * Methods of composition. * Drawing for sculpture.
Students will develop awareness of health and safety issues concerning all materials and processes we use.
2 sessions are reserved a term for these processes.
Students may need to do research or seek reference material relevant to any projects they undertake. Those taking courses such as Foundation/Pre-foundation into art and new adult learning pathways will need to do extra study.
There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre and a library of prospectuses for other London colleges to help you continue your studies. If you need more detailed advice, please ask your tutor.

What will it be like

The course will be taught through demonstration, practice and discussion with particular emphasis on sound and careful technique to ensure strong and successful end results.
The tutor will always attempt to divide his time evenly and fairly amongst all the students in the class.
The tutor will provide handouts and other support material and encourages all students to document their work on a regular basis using a photographic record. Progress reports, copies of your sketchbooks and other documentation.

Assessment is given on a regular basis by direct personal consultation with the tutor, project records and self-appraisal. Each student will be expected to identify where possible specific learning aims and objectives to be assessed at the end of term. Students will be encouraged to evaluate their work through group discussion with fellow students.

1. Produce finished pieces of portrait sculpture using a variety of techniques and processes.
2. Recognize and identify key muscle groups, bone structure, and elements of the face and neck and upper body. 3. Hollow and prepare work for firing.
If you are a returning learner: Increase confidence in 3d practice and develop techniques and processes towards an individual style. Specific learning objectives are geared to the needs of individual students and may well include things not listed here.

What else do you need to buy or do

Basic clays are provided, but limited to £10 cost per student - thereafter it can be ordered through the centre at cost. Space is limited, so works can't be too large (maximum life-size scale for a full head) and there is a 7kg weight restriction.

What this course could lead to

Students may move between the various classes that we offer at the Mary Ward Centre.
You may decide to cast a portrait in the 'mixed media' or 'permasculpture' classes, or progress to full figure clay modelling.
Past students have progressed to exhibiting and selling their work, and have successfully applied for and completed Degree and Masters courses in Fine Art, Sculpture and Design.
You may also progress to the Foundation into Art or Pre-foundation course at the Mary Ward Centre further courses at other colleges.

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’