Woodcarving for Beginners
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About the Course
The course is designed to introduce students to the specific skills and techniques involved in woodcarving, to boost their confidence and enthusiasm to take on new projects.
We also aim to have fun.
What Students Should Achieve
Students should gain a good understanding of the fundamentals of woodcarving techniques and practices, Gerald aims to encourage and direct individuals to use their talents effectively. You can expect to complete a piece of work in the time available.
Techniques and Materials Covered
Health and Safety
Basic design work
learn how to sharpen and use a range of tools
Ways of Holding and securing work
Roughing out and initial wood removal
Developing and detailing the work with various tools and gouges
Surface treatment and finishing.
The course is hands on: tuition is by demonstration; learning is by practice with tutor input.
Gerald set up his woodcarving business in 1986 after gaining a BA (hons) degree in fine art. His interest in woodcarving began while working for a leading furniture making firm, and then studying woodcarving at the London college of furniture, he has gone on to complete a post graduate certificate in education and taught city and guild students part time in the local technical college and adult education.
As well as completing many prestigious commissions, Gerald teaches regular weekly classes and beginners courses at his South Norfolk workshop.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
The days tuition runs from 9.30 to 4.30.
Buffet Lunch is included, as well as lots of tea and biscuits!
All tools and materials provided, so no need to buy anything first.
I have just spent a very enjoyable 2 days in the company of Gerry and the other course members. Everything was top notch, Gerry's instructions , the workshop and tools, the tea-break and lunch facilities and the fellow students were fun and good to learn with. I would highly recommend the course.
John Knights - - #17125
I have just enjoyed the same course as Jim and can only reiterate what he has said. Gerry has taken a small group of likeminded people through an interesting introduction to wood carving that has included basic techniques, tool maintenance and wood choice. We have all come away with a finished introduction piece and our own piece almost finished. A fascinating two days that has also been a lot of fun with regular refreshments including excellent soup and buffet at lunchtimes. I can't recommend the course highly enough.
Barry Gait - - #17105
I would wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone who is embarking on the woodcarving journey. Today I finished the excellent 2 day beginner course with Gerry. Having no experience of woodcarving (or anything arts & crafts) I had a bit of trepidation on how the course would go but I worried needlessly. Gerry's relaxed approachable style, coupled with the group consisting of very friendly like minded people from a variety of backgrounds, made the 2 days a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Gerry steered everyone along the course at a pace to suit everyones ability, and at the end of the 2 days we all had one finished piece plus a second piece well on the way to completion. Gerry provided individul step-by-step tuition to everyone and was always there to guide me back on the right path when I felt myself going astray. We discussed tools, sharpening, woods, etc....I came away with a solid sense of direction on what was the best next steps for me. Gerry's knowledge and skills are clearly vast and we were obviously only scratching the surface of his talents. All in all I am delighted I attended and recommend to anyone.
Jim Commins - - #17103
I recently attended Gerry’s 2 day course for beginners and can thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about having a go at wood carving. Gerry is clearly a talented master craftsman and teaches through a mix of demonstrating techniques to the class as well as giving practical support, guidance and encouraging feedback on a 1:1 basis. He creates a positive, relaxed environment for learning and has plenty of humorous anecdotes from his long carving career. The lunch, prepared by Gerry’s wife, (including wonderful homemade soup) and other refreshments were excellent. Overall a really enjoyable weekend of learning a new skill.
Mark Webster - - #14752
Spent two days on a beginners carving course with Gerald this weekend. The course was fantastic. I am an absolute beginner and Gerald took me - and the 5 other participants - through a complete range of basic skills and toolcare. We used the skills to make 2 small pieces - always good to have something to take home. Gerald tailored the course to each person's skills and was the epitome of patience. He is extremely knowledgeable. We enjoyed a fantastic meal on each day and regular teas and biscuits. I highly recommend the courses.
Jane Grubb - - #14658
An excellent weekend. Well taught and thoroughly enjoyable. Gerry offers great guidance and experienced advice. Small classes so lots of time to learn. Highly recommend.
Peter Harvey - - #13877
I completed Gerry’s 2 day course 3 weeks ago and I’m still buzzing from the whole experience. As a total beginner to wood carving, this course and Gerry’s fantastic teaching has inspired me to continue wood carving. In 2 days I created a piece of woodwork that I ( and my wife and friends) never thought I would be able to create with my own hands! A huge thank you to Gerry for giving me this experience and all the information and knowledge he passed on re: tools, technique, sharpening, and all I need to get started and having the confidence to continue. A huge thank you to Gerrys wife for the wonderful lunch we were treated to on both days. I went asking myself the question whether this was something that I can do and want to do as a hobby. I have come away with a resounding YES to both. I fully recommend this course.
Baz Wilkinson - - #12881
Just finished one of Gerry's courses. We had a great time; Jerry is an excellent wood carver and a great teacher. The workshop has all the tools needed and provides a great environment for the course. 5I am an absolute beginner at carving wood though I have been turning wood for a little while. I learnt so much on the course; I came away with a great understanding of the tools, the process and where to get the various supplies i might need. Jerry also helped me sort the tools I had inherited and then sharpen them. And then there were the lunches provided by Gerry's wife, which were wonderful. I can thoroughly recommend the course to anyone who wants to learn about wood carving
Keith Mosley - - #12465
My sister and I did the beginners course in April this year and liked it so much we’ve just completed a two day course carving a green man plaque ... Gerry has a lovely relaxed style of teaching and has excellent equipment which have enabled me to complete an excellent green man. I’m amazed that I was able to produce such an excellent result as I don’t consider myself skilled artistically.. Gerry has enabled me to produce something I am proud to show off with to anybody.. feeling really proud of myself.. thank you Gerry couldn’t have done it without you
Christine Kimber - - #11759
Have just completed 2 days with Gerald, this has revived my interest in wood carving. Great introduction to the basics now all I need is tools to finish the Owl before Christmas. Excellent teacher, workshop and refreshments.
Mike Ellwood - - #11339
I started carving over six years ago with a beginners weekend course I enjoyed it so much and was made so very welcome I just keep going back.
Gerald is not only one of the nicest people I have ever met he is also an outstanding wood carver and excellent teacher, his knowledge of wood is just amazing.
Wood carving under Gerald's tuition is one of the best things I have ever enjoyed.
Roger wharton - - #11302
Gerry was my first introduction to wood carving since middle school. He is a patient and caring teacher more than willing to explain the answer to any question you can come up with. I have been attending his evening classes for somewhere around a year and have learned so much. He has encouraged me even when I picked a rather obscure and eccentric First Project. Which has since been a complete success. I am certainly looking forward to the next term's classes with Gerry and am excited to see what we create next. I would highly recomend him for both beginers and those more advanced.
Camilla Cross - - #10684
My daughter bought me a set of courses for Christmas after I retired some three years ago and I have never looked back.
First thing was a nice house sign with lettering and quatrefoils.
Gerald has a great attitude and teaches the use of tools and techniques which would be difficult on ones own.
Besides there is a great cameraderie with classmates and it is fascinating to see what others achieve.
Glyn Owens - - #10342
My woodcarving interest started some 10 years ago at an adult education class in Norwich. My enjoyment was 200% but progress was slow. When the classes were disbanded we were so pleased that Gerry took up the cudgel and set up courses in Long Stratton to enable us to keep up our new found skills. It's a great atmosphere in the workshop and I have achieved projects that have amazed me. The tuition cannot be faulted, the classes are friendly and you can do whatever you want knowing that help is always at hand. Tools and wood are available and Tuesday afternoons have become something to look forward to.
Dudley Watts - - #10340
I started on a weekend woodcarving course with Gerry three years ago. I had a very low level of confidence and memories of school woodwork with a grumpy teacher and grotty bits of deal that always ended up planed to a sliver. Gerry is the Mary Poppins of the woodworking world (without the outfits). He actually made me laugh and enjoy woodwork as I'd never imagined I could. I signed up for a regular weekly class and discovered a talent I never knew I had and made new friends in his friendly class. He is a skilled craftsman who enjoys passing on his skills to other people and is happy to advise on tool buying and to supply lovely pieces of lime and oak to carve. I'm hooked!
Nick Jackson - - #10332
Think I speak for most as once the first 15 mins have gone by you loose yourself in your own world of carving and the few hours you spend are a great break from everyday life, tuition is informative without being restrictive and allows you to gain confidence quickly, Gerrys' knowledge of carving backed up with his artistic knowledge nudges you towards producing more than you thought you were capable of very quickly, well appointed workshop, good friendly atmosphere, descent cup of tea at half time, highly recommended!
John Mewse - - #10330
Gerald is very generous with his expertise and it is a pleasure to learn from someone with such skill and experience. The atmosphere in the classes is very friendly and you are given lots of scope to develop your own projects.Addictive and enjoyable.
Chantal Haddon - - #10320
I started going to Gerald's woodcarving classes to support my interest in making musical instruments, and it turned out to be a very good decision indeed! As the other reviews have mentioned, Gerald is master carver, and an excellent teacher. He provides carving exercises that teach the basic (and not so basic) techniques, but is also very helpful for students with projects of their own, giving excellent guidance on both technical aspects and on the modeling of the carving (i.e. the artistic side of carving). The workshop is very well equipped and it is useful to be able to work with a variety of tools to determine what you most need to buy for your workshop at home. The lessons are also great fun, and one of the high points of my week - very highly recommended!
Gavin Cawley - - #10181
Gerry offers simple practical tuition using a full range of tools within achievable goals from beginners to the advanced.
However small or uninspiring your project may seem, he will make it matter for you. He lends himself well to each student and is very fair with his time. He gives good sound advice and demonstrates his skills well.
My carving has much improved since going to his classes.
Lynda Watts - - #10176
I cannot recommend the Woodcarving weekly classes too highly.
Gerald is a Master Carver and a great teacher. He also manages to create a wonderful friendly atmosphere in his classes which is a joy to work in. After several years carving away after work or at weekends on my own in my workshop, I am now able to take advantage of retirement and spend time with like minded carvers who want to get better and a bit more creative. I always look forward to my weekly classes and hope to continue to improve my carving skills at Gerald's classes for many terms to come.
David Handley - - #10167
I joined Gerald's classes after carving for 8 years, and am now ironing out my bad habits!
I find the classes both helpful and inspiring and have learned new techniques, including how to sharpen chisels.
Gerald is always ready to help if you get stuck, suggesting a different method or different tool to do the job. I would definitely recommend his classes for beginners and improvers alike.
Anna Cullingford - - #10139
I was lucky enough to find Gerry a couple of years ago having previously carved with another group. Simply put, he is a Master Carver who is eager to pass on his considerable knowledge to all of his students. He does this by example, and patient guidance, with tuition methods that enable his students to produce work that previously they,just maybe, would not have attempted. Gerry's soft spoken approach creates a very encouraging and enjoyable carving experience every week
Lionel Hickman - - #10125
I was pleased to be able to restart wood carving on my retirement having been an occasional carver.
Gerry is a very supportive teacher with the emphasis on guiding and encouraging everyone to 'do it on their own' which increases the confidence of each carver. The mutual class support is also helpful.
It is clear to me everyone enjoys their weekly class and we are all more confident carvers from our tuition. Always a most enjoyable part of my week.
Roger Morse - - #10117
I have been a student of Gerry's for five years and have completed both regular woodcarving sessions and a beginner's chair-making course.
Gerry mixes both structured and flexible classes, allowing you to progress from your own starting point, whether this is a beginner or more experienced carver. There is the option to do 'set pieces' to develop different carving techniques, where Gerry takes you through a step-by-step process or to choose your own piece to work on, where Gerry provides individual tuition and coaching.
Gerry advises you on woods and chisels to buy if you want to work at home as well, or provides use of his own tools, if you are not sure you want to set yourself up just yet. I would highly recommend Gerry's courses, as both educational, social and enjoyable.
K Henderson - - #10100
I have been one of Gerry's weekly students for several years. His talent and work is truly astounding and must be seen to be believed. Just check out his website.
Gerry is an excellent teacher - expert, patient, courteous, long-suffering, painstaking, intelligent, humorous - and provides some not too bad coffee, to boot.
There is nothing he cannot make - and also teach and help you to make it too. I am astounded at the progress that even a novice like me has achieved thanks entirely to him.
His classes are always fun and we always have some good laughs.
Try him - he won't disappoint.
Laurie Janicker (Reverend) - - #10098
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Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
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- Accessible by public transport
- Suitable for beginners
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