Office of lifelong learning new or revised credit course proposal

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Course title

Clay Figure Modelling (intensive)

School BoS

Edinburgh College of Art for Office of Lifelong Learning

Date of Meeting

SCQF level


Credit points


Contact teaching hours




New Y/N


Revised Y/N


If replacement, name of course replaced

Details of any pre-requisite courses (if any) or other requirements

Basic drawing skills desirable.

No previous experience of clay sculpture required.

Course operational with

effect from (date)

July 2012

Course proposed by

Robbie Bushe



0131 221 6209

Course tutor(s)

Include qualifications

Kevin Dagg

BA (Honours) Sculpture, Grays school of Art

PG Cert Higher Education Teaching and Learning, University of the Arts London.

Departmental URL


Short description

of course

In this course, students will be encouraged to explore the technical and expressive potential of this ancient medium in a contemporary context investigating the concept, design and tactile and malleable qualities of clay. Working directly from the life model, students will make a series of modelled heads, torsos and figures. Students will be required to keep a sketchbook and journal documenting progress and relating the work to artists who have used the figure as a sculptural form.

Intended learning


On completion of this course through class hours, directed and independent study, students will be able to;


  • Research and record their understanding and contextual awareness of clay modelling techniques through drawing and annotation within a sketchbook or journal.


  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the procedures required to explore and express human proportions in 3D and competence in the handling and modelling of clay with tools as well as their hands.


  • Demonstrate the ability to present a coherent and personal series of clay figure work with evidence of a contextual awareness


The course will be comprised of an intensive 5 day teaching block, Monday to Friday, 10am until 4.00pm, followed by a period of independent study in the student’s own time.
Class hours:

  • Day 1 - Introduction to the space and the basic tools required for modelling the figure in clay. How to build up the figure in clay and the procedure for working in the round. Start modelling figure.

  • Day 2 - How to build up the clay head on an armature and the use of callipers for measurement. Begin modelling a portrait from the model. Techniques for representing eyes.

  • Day 3 - Discussion to establish 3-day pose. Begin modelling figure. Establish pose and check proportions.

  • Day 4 - Techniques for modelling hands and feet.

  • Day 5 - Resolve the figure and select two pieces for firing.

Directed and Independent study:

Students will be required to follow up and reflect on their learning from the classes through the completion of directed projects and their own independent study.

Transferable skills

  • Observational modelling skills

  • Understanding of the structure, form of the figure in 3D

  • Working with clay

  • Ability to undertake research and reflective practice and apply these in the context of clay modelling within visual culture

Organisation of teaching

The teaching will be based and delivered in specialist art and design 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. Over the five days, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.
For work required to be undertaken after the class hours are complete, the course tutor will set students a ‘directed study plan’ which can be undertaken without the need for specialist workshops or access to models.

Directed study will include research into a range of suggested artists or designers and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness of the sculpted figure in visual culture. Students will be expected to demonstrate how the research has informed their work through annotated sketchbooks or visual journals and practical outcomes. The Directed Study Plan will include preparing evidence of research and practical work to form an appropriate presentation for assessment.

Components of


The course will be assessed by the submission of a portfolio of visual art works and supporting materials within the discipline studied. This will include a selection of resolved art 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 students do during the class)

  • Directed hours: 27.5 (work your tutor has set students to do after the class teaching is complete)

  • Independent Study Hours: 45 (work students set themselves 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, students must achieve a minimum of 30% in each learning outcome and an overall combined mark of 40% minimum.

Course Readings




Lanteri, E., 1911, Modelling, Guide for Teachers and Students, USA: Chapman & Hall, Ltd

Flynn, T., 1998, The Body in Sculpture, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Lynton, N., 1998, British Figurative art, part two: sculpture, London: Momentum.

Spencer, S., 1989, Sculptures of the 20th Century: from the Wilhelm Lembruck Museum, Druisburg, London: South Bank Centre

Reinhart, B. and Smith, K., 2001, Kiki Smith: small sculptures and large drawings,  Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag

Giacometti, A., Schneider, A., and Grisebach, L., 1994, Alberto Giacometti, Munich: Pretsel, 1994.

Marini, M., 1998, Marino Marini: catalogue raisonné of the sculptures, Florence: Skira 

Waddinton Galleries, 1995, Of the human form: Exhibition Waddington Galleries, London, 22 November-22 December 1995, Brighton: Smart Arts Ltd

Web sources

Web resources may be provided during the course

Class handouts

Course information will be provided on enrolment and hand-outs during the course

Art and Design Materials and Equipment

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

  • Access to modelling turntable stands

  • A range of modelling and clay tools

  • Plastic sheets to keep clay wet

  • head and Life model set ups

  • Firing of two finished piece of work (at students own risk)

Materials and equipment available for purchase during the course:

(Estimated cost: £20 - £100 depending of usage)

  • modelling clay

  • wire

  • Additional firings

Essentials Materials and equipment students will need to provide themselves:

(Estimated cost: £20 - £50 depending on usage)

  • A sketchbook

  • Some basic clay modelling tools

  • Drawing tools; pencil, pens, conte, charcoal etc.

A list of recommended suppliers, where appropriate, will be provided to students on enrolment. Additional materials recommended during the course will either be available to purchase in the studio or the eca shop.

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