Summer School - A Conversation with Don Ratcliffe ARBSA

16 June 2013

This summer, Don Ratcliffe ARBSA is running a Basics of Sculpture workshop on Saturday 20 July.

Here, he discusses the workshop and his current projects with one of our Volunteer Gallery Assistants, Becky Sexton.


Don tries to imagine how forms in nature are created out of movement. He then works freely, beyond the functional constraints that are imposed on nature. Working mostly in wood, he responds to his imagination of the forces of levity and gravity; expansion and contraction; free flow and congestion.

What projects are you currently working on?

Wood carving as usual, but also beginning to think how we can celebrate the 200th anniversary of the RBSA in 2014.
Is any previous knowledge of sculpture needed to take part on your course?

No, just a curiosity about it. Perhaps an interest in shapes, and seeing what you have seen before in a new way.


Clay modelling techniques will be explored in your summer workshop: The Basics of Sculpture. What are the advantages of working with clay?

Clay is an ideal medium in which to explore and experiment. You can add bits on and take bits off... not like wood where once a bit has been removed it has gone for good. With wood you can’t change your mind.

In the past you practiced full-time as an art therapist. In your experience what are the benefits of working in a group or workshop environment?

Working in a group you can see what others are doing. You may go a completely different way, but all around others are trying out new things too. Questions can be shared too.