Portrait Sculpture

Hazel Reeves

Get ready to become hooked. Sculpting a portrait in clay is a very rewarding experience. This course will explore how to observe heads – how to see their differences and similarities, and in turn learn how to translate this understanding into a sculpture which captures a likeness of the sitter. On the first day we will sculpt rapidly an under-life-size head of the sitter, without measuring. During the next four days we will more systematically build a life-sized clay portrait of our sitter on an armature/bust-peg. This concentrated modelling will be interspersed with fun exercises – with clay and without – to help train up the eye and hands. On the final morning there is the option to hollow-out the head in preparation for firing.

This course will be taught in a way suitable for those with experience of sculpting in clay and those new to it.

White Room, Phoenix Art Space

Most materials are included in the cost of the course including clay for a life-size portrait. A wooden armature (sometimes called a ‘bust peg’) will be provided. This is yours to keep.

Please bring an apron/bib and an A4 sketchpad and drawing implement (pencil, pen etc). If you have any of the following, bring them. But don’t worry if not as there will be some to share:

  • Calipers for measuring
  • Metal ruler
  • Retractable metal measure
  • Wooden and/or metal modeling tools (including hollowing-out tools)
  • Wire (or “cheese”) cutter
  • Water spray bottle
  • Barbecue sticks
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Masking tape
  • Bin liners (x2)
  • Hand-held mirror
  • Old newspaper

If you are hollowing-out on the last day it would be helpful to bring an old pillow, a clean jam jar, fork and knife.

Firing is not included, however, advice on how to prepare the piece for firing and where to get the piece fired (at a kiln/pottery) will be shared during the course. You can choose to hollow-out on the final day.

Hazel Reeves has a passion for telling stories in bronze of struggles for social justice and redressing the lack of women represented, one statue at a time. Hazel is perhaps best known for her bronze public commissions such as Sir Nigel Gresley at King’s Cross Station, the women biscuit factory workers – the Cracker Packers – in Carlisle, Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy in Congleton and suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst in Manchester, winner of the Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture 2021.

Hazel is an elected Member of the Royal Society of Sculptors and a member of the Society of Women Artists (SWA). Hazel also loves to teach portrait sculpture.

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