Over the years I have recieved several requests for help and support in starting out in metal sculpture, or in adapting existing fabrication skills to sculpture.
In response I started running workshops in Metal Sculpture. These days or weekends are individually planned to suit the needs of the individual. I take bookings usually on a 1:1 basis but have also worked with small groups of friends which has worked out well. These courses make ideal gifts for people interested in creative skills, if the course is a gift I can supply a card with a gift voucher and a description of a typical course. Great for Christmas and Birthdays.
They could also be a great way for a couple to get to know each other.
The picture below of Jillian to me sums up the whole experience.
My original idea was to provide a set of projects covering various
aspects of metal sculpture and welding, interestingly I find most people
are coming along with their own ideas to be realised. I am also picking
up some great ideas as a result of offering these courses.
is £250.00 for a whole day of 1:1 work, small group courses are a
possibility and would work best if the participants were known to each
other. This could make for an interesting wedding/stag event. Price goes
up by £50.00 for every extra person. I am happy having children along as long as they are accompanied by an adult. I have children as young as seven welding happpily.
are planned after talking to participants; or if they are being bought
as a gift, to the purchaser. I like to establish the level of experience
of the participant so I can tailor the projects and work to their
experience and skill level. I have worked with people who are
experienced welders and fabricators who want to get in touch with their
'creative side', and I have worked with people who never seen a Mig
welder or handled a piece of steel.
Before taking up art as a
fulltime occupation I worked in the caring professions, working with
people with learning difficulties and mental health problems, I am
qualified in this field and have worked in an occupational therapy
environment. This kind of skills based work can be huge help to people
with a variety of needs, especially in boosting confidence. If you would
like to talk to me about this area of my work feel free to call
These have really taken off in popularity recently, currently averaging one course a week with amazing results. Here are pictures from a few recent courses.
Jillian Came in early September to make a memorial tree for her mother. This is about five minutes after starting to weld.
Here is the tree she made. 2m tall, apparently the neighbours are constantly peering over the fence at it.
On 11 10 14 I had a group of four ladies come for two days, each working on their own idea. Here is what we finished up with. 'Alan The Welder taking a break'.
Flower with coins and bike parts.
Curly plant thing
Lastly a planter with leaves.
Note the four sculptures above were made over two days by four people, with no previous experience of metalworking. An amazing weekend.
Dawn wanted to make some small sculptures inspired by her Son's martial arts skills. These are small and very fiddly things to make.
Here she is brazing the hands on using oxy/acetylene gas, a very difficult process.
Here we have a picture of Christine after completing her first weld.
She had never seen any of this technology before, and picked it up instantly.
Her comments after the two day session.
"I wanted to thank you for the fabulous two days I spent in your work shop. It was truly an enjoyable experience completely different from anything I have undertaken before. You really are an excellent teacher with no end of patience. When I arrived home with my 'art' both my Husband and my Son were completely amazed and delighted that I had managed to produce what I had. The stick man with attitude went down particularly well! I would recommend this type of activity to anyone I meet that shows an interest and have even suggested it as a Christmas present to a few friends. Once again thank you Alan you are inspirational."
Carol and her Daughter Danny came for two days to work on a sculpture to go by the pond at the primary school where Carol works. The sculpture was designed by one of Carol's pupils in a competition.He wanted it to be a 'half fish half boy' life sized to go beside the pond. Neither of them had any prior experience of metal working and were feeling quite nervous about the whole project.
A good result from two days, an original take on shapes I have worked with in the past, and just right for a primary school. Carol and Danny did all of the work themselves and even had time to make the reclining figure in the foreground.
The two pieces below were made by Nic and Simon. The weekend was a first time metal working experience for both of them, the designs were their own, based on a Broken Heart and a Violin, oboth pieces were plasma cut from steel sheet and welded together.
I was particularly taken with the tired and distressed look of each sculpture being part of the original plan.
Adrian and Emma came for a weekend, both had no experience of welding or metal work but fancied a weekend break somewhere nice doing something 'interesting and creative'. After a few discussions they decided to work on a project each. Emma had decided on a Giant Champagne glass with bubbles, and Adrian wanted to have a go at a 'Curly thing like this' cue waving of arms and a few sketches on the workbench, a kind of double helix was the idea.
Here is Emma with her finished result. A Giant Champagne Glass with bubbles.
Emma did all of the welding and metal shaping herself. The next photo shows Adrian's Curly thing.
I was particularly taken with this as I have been thinking about helixes for sometime. The balls give it a very purposeful, almost Victorian look.
Dave came along looking to make 'A Man Trapped in a Ball', an idea had been developing for some time. He had some previous experience of welding, but not very recently. This was his first go at 'doing sculpture' rather than structural work.
An excellent piece of work and very personal.
Natalie wanted to make a semi abstract sculpture based on her drawing of her daughter, Natalie had no experience of metal working before coming along, she did almost all of the welding and most of the metal bending.
All of the sculptures produced on this page have given me food for thought and new ideas to think about regards shape and form.
Here are two images of karolin who came over from Germany for a two day workshop, a surprise gift from her husband. She had some experience of metal work from her school days but was keen to try some more advanced techniques. In the first picture she is welding on the Dragonfly sculpture she made.
In the next image she is trying out the plasma cutter
A recent workshop was run for another beginner Adrian. Usually I have in mind a set of projects for different skill levels. Adrian however came in knowing exactly what he wanted to make; a semi abstract sculpture based on a school of tropical fish swimming in a spiral. On the day; between us we worked out the structures needed, how to make them and how to learn the fabrication skills needed to make them ie cutting, bending and welding the components together. Below we have one of the two pieces he made over his weekend.
I confess to having been particularly impressed with the results of this day. Here is a quote from Adrian after I asked if I could use his pictures in this setting.
"I'd consider it a privilege to be on your web-site. As for comments - 'the sculpture workshop is a fantastic experience; Alan is an excellent, patient and helpful tutor. I didn't know anything about the techniques but learnt so much over the course of two days, and I have two pieces of sculpture to show for it! I would recommend it to anyone'."
These workshops have become popular gifts which was not expected, I am happy to print out gift certificates for the recipient
I am happy to run single sex courses if desired as I have spoken to a few women who are intimidated the the 'blokiness' of the activities involved, eg application of heat and use of technical equipment. I would also be comfortable running the for small family groups, I have had children as young as 8 years old welding competently.
I think they could also make for an interesting component of a wedding package.
I have a background working in education and have planned and ran small group courses in the past. I provide high spec protective equipment. I can provide overalls if needed. Otherwise old clothes (not synthetics) would do. In a group setting I can provide a second Mig welder for a small extra fee. There is a small charge for materials, typically around £15-£25.00 per two days, alternatively you can always buy lunch. Materials are priced at cost, and not charged for if they come out of my offcuts boxes. I do have public liability insurance for these activities.
The tools I use are all professional quality and are well maintained. if you would like to bring along your own tools, eg welding equipment this should not be a problem.
If you are coming from a distance away I am happy to help sort B+B accommodation locally.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Contact details Alan Ross