Textile Animal Sculpture with Barbara Franc, 24-27 August

Textile Animal Sculpture with Barbara Franc, 24-27 August

Barbara Franc has been one of the pioneers in mixed media sculpture for many years now. She playfully combines mixed media materials together to create sculpture that capture the vibrancy and energy of her animal subjects. She does not limit herself to one medium or style, instead she draws on the materials around her for inspiration.

As you can no doubt tell, I have been a big fan of Barbara’s art work and approach for many years now, so imagine my delight when she said that she would come and teach at the Phoenix Studio!

On this summer school you will make your own shaggy animal using a mixture of sculpture and textile techniques.

The basic wire armature is ‘padded out’ before covering it with a variety of textiles that you might like to bring with you. The use of wire allows a lot of leeway in the pose you would like your creature to have which brings added life and individuality to the finished piece, but gravity does exert chaos on unbalanced poses!

Fear not though, Barbara will be with you every step of the way to guide you from wire and fabric scraps to sculptural delight! An openness to trying something new is essential for this course. Sculpture’s very nature is to solve the problems that always seem to crop up along the way; there is no right or wrong way in the solutions, each piece will be totally unique to you.


DAY 1:

Meet and greet of students. Introduction with demonstration of making armatures suitable for this style of work, using wire and padding, manipulating the pose to bring life and attitude to the form.

DAY 2:

Starts with a demonstration of how to cut the lycra fabric and bind it over the forms – giving the animals a ‘skin layer.’

No specialised knowledge of needlework is required.

DAY 3:

Selecting the fabrics for the final top layer.

 A demonstration of how to attach the textiles to the sculptures, especially around the head and feet, also how to fray the material for a ‘hairy’ look.

No specialised knowledge of needlework is required.

DAY 4:

Students continue to cover their artworks with fabric with demonstrations on how to do ears and eyes.

 Even if the students are not able to complete their pieces due to scale, they will all have the knowledge needed to finish their work at home.

This fun course includes:

  • Informal, relaxed & attentive guidance for every student, provided by Barbara Franc (James Ort will be partaking in the course and helping out as an assistant too)
  • A series of demonstrations showing…
  • How to create and construct your wire armature
  • How to ‘pad out’ your sculpture capturing muscle tone and form
  • How to cover your form in fabrics using a range of stitching techniques to fasten and bring character to the piece

Suitable for?

Anyone regardless of experience. Very basic sewing skills ie threading a needle would be useful.

We generally limit the age to 14 years old+ though exceptions can be made where appropriate. Please contact James Orts and ask.

What is included in the price?

  • Four full days tuition (10am-4.30pm)
  • Basic materials (though you will need to bring your own fabrics to make your sculpture unique to you)
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes
  • Use of a beautiful, purpose built art studio with all the equipment & materials you will need
  • Beautiful countryside setting

This course is for you if:

  • You want to explore your creativity but lack the confidence to do so on your own
  • You don’t want to be limited by ‘traditional art forms’ and instead wish to become a creative magpie!
  • You want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a fun, beautiful, creative environment
  • You sometimes feel a bit intimidated by sculpture. This is a fun way of realising you can play with the attitude and pose of your animal up to the last minute

Pre course prep

It is a good idea to come with an idea of the animal you would like to make, bring good reference photos from several angles.

You will also be asked to start gathering a selection of old fabrics you might want to use. These could be personal to you or selected to link to your subject matter.

You will be sent an automated email on booking which prompts you towards documents that help you prepare for your time here. If this does not happen then please email James before the course.

Need accommodation?

If you are travelling from further afield and would like to stay in the area for your visit then have a look at our recommend B&Bs and hotels.  Click here for the list.

Beyond The Course

Having completed a Phoenix Studio course many of our students choose to explore the medium further. They may come on another weekend course, start coming to our Creative Monday Sessions, evening sessions or carry on independently at home. We are more than happy to help and advise you in taking those first creative steps!

£380 for summer school including your tuition, tools and basic materials


Complete the booking form (top right of your screen, or scroll down if you’re on a mobile).


Barbara Franc

Barbara has always been fascinated by the shapes and sculptural forms of animals, they present a never-ending source of inspiration to her. She uses wire and other materials to try to capture a feeling of their movement and presence in her sculpture. She increasingly uses recycled and discarded materials, enjoying the challenge of transforming something with a past history into something new and exciting.

Most of her pieces are done to private or corporate commission and she is represented by several galleries.

Being a Sculptor can sometimes be a lonely job which is why I find it a privilege to share techniques, my time and laughter with other like-minded enthusiastic people.

Barbara Franc – Course Tutor

We get wonderful feedback from the people who attend this course.  Here are just a couple of testimonials:

I found Barbara to be an intuitive teacher. She used a number of models in different stages of completion and clearly explained each stage. I found this very useful. Barbara was fun and engaging to be with and a font of info about other artists, especially sculptors. I would do another of her classes if I could

Kim Ende, Queensland Australia

I decided to book Barbara’s course as this was a challenge, something definitely out of my comfort zone.

The days were full on but thanks to Barbara’s excellent teaching and guidance I produced ‘Cyril the Squirrel’.

Thoroughly enjoyed the week.

Patricia Barrington,  Limoges France

I can honestly say that Barbara’s generosity to share her tremendous skill and art form, forgotten bits and bobs of material, tools, and her genuine warm heart made the workshop I did with her the best I have ever attended! That, and her way of explaining how to create our creatures, lots of different ways so that all of us could understand. From the demonstrations, to going around individually and to even know when to leave the student alone when they didn’t need the help at that moment. Friendly and approachable with funny stories slotted in, I would highly recommend attending one of her workshops you will  not regret it.

Christine Butler, Australia

£380 for summer school including your tuition, tools and basic materials


Complete the booking form (top right of your screen, or scroll down if you’re on a mobile).

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