Netsuke Course

Presented by Susan Wraight

Susan Wraight is a Melbourne based woodcarver who works on a miniature scale. Her work has been purchased by institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery of Australia, and private collectors include Prince Takamado of Japan.

Susan trained originally as a jeweller at the Royal College of Art in London, but after seeing a display of netsuke at the Victoria and Albert Museum, she was inspired to retain the small scale of her work, but to change her medium. Netsuke is a traditional Japanese art, that served both functional and aesthetic purposes; in the absence of pockets in the kimono, the carved miniature sculptures were used as toggles to suspend a container securely from the sash. Netsuke were widely worn during the Edo period (1615 – 1868). The later popularity of western dress in Japan made their use as an element of everyday wear redundant, and netsuke are now regarded as sculpture in their own right.

Susan works in dense and tightly grained wood, most usually European boxwood, which retains fine detail. She also uses inlays such as amber and mother of pearl. Working in a western vocabulary, Susan draws her main inspiration from nature, and uses story to imbue her carvings with a sense of life. The Masterclass will progress with practical work, interspersed with a series of talks that cover such topics as design principles for figurative work on a miniature scale, roughing out the form, hand carving, detailing, inlaying, colouring and finishing.

Sue Wraight

1980 M.A. Jewellery and Silversmithing, Royal College of Art, U.K.
1977 B.A. Hons (1st class) Three Dimensional Design, Brighton
Polytechnic, U.K.

Include those of : H.I.H.Prince Takamado of Japan;
The Duke of Gloucester; The Marchioness of Bute

The Office of the President, White House, U.S.A. Tokyo National Museum, Japan.
The British Museum, London, UK. British Crafts Council, London, U.K.
Kyoto Seishu Netsuke Art Museum, Kyoto, Japan. Henry Kendal Collection, South Australia.
Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland. Melbourne University, Victoria, Australia
Highlands & Islands Development Board, Scotland. Hikaru Museum, Takayama, Japan.
National Gallery of Art, Canberra, Australia. Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA.

2019 Masterpiece 2019 The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London
2012 Collect Saatchi Gallery, London
2007 Contemporary Netsuke: Masterful Miniatures Museum of Art and Design, New York, USA
2005 Transformations: the language of craft National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia.
2003 Contemporary Netsuke Tobacco and Salt Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2002 Masterpieces of Netsuke: Collection of HIH Prince Takamado Matsumoto City Museum of Art
2001 Contemporary Netsuke: The Kinsey Collection Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan.
1999 Contemporary Australian Craft Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art; touring regional Japan.
1998 Netsuke from the collection of Prince Takamado Museum of East Asian Art, Berlin.

Nature as Object Art Gallery of Western Australia.

1997 Contemporary Netsuke : Miniature Sculpture from Japan and beyond Bowers Museum,U.S.A.
1996 Out of this World : The Influence of the Natural World on Craft and Design 1880 –1995

Craft Council Gallery and touring, U.K.

1995 VicHealth National Craft Award National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.
1994 Treasured Miniatures : Contemporary Netsuke from Japanese Collections British Museum, U.K;

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, U.S.A.
The Art of the Object Craft Australia exhibition touring Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.

1993 The Woodcarver’s Craft British Crafts Council, London, U.K.
1994 Susan Wraight Australian Galleries, Sydney, Australia.
1988 Misericords by Susan Wraight Meat Market Craft Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
1994 Carving for the ceremonial mace of Swinburne University, Australia.
1992 Carving presented to the Hon.George Bush, president of the U.S.A. as the official gift from the

State Government of Victoria, on the occasion of his visit to Australia.
1990 Series of carvings for Mount Stuart, the Scottish seat of the Marquess of Bute.
1989 Designed the Dominic Serventy Commemorative Medal for the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.
1989 Two misericords for Winchester Cathedral, England, to replace those missing from the set.
2009: Golden Dragon Award (Kinsey International Art Foundation); 1993: Broken Thumb Award (International
Netsuke Society); 1990: Australian Woodworker Award; 1988: Medibank Private Bicentennial Craft Award;
1985: National Wood Design Award

Sue Wraight

$1650 (Inclusive of GST)
All materials included


1 hour lecture - Saturday 15th August (7:00pm to 8:00pm)

3rd October
10th October
17th October
24th October
31st Octboer

9:30am - 4:30pm (one hour lunch break)

(sequence of talks may change as the course progresses)

August 15th (7 - 8pm)
Public lecture on netsuke carving

October 3rd
Selecting materials
Models; thinking in 3D; planning
The carving action
Use of palm handle tools
Practical exercise in soft

October 10th
Commence project in hard timber
Roughing out

October 17th Detailing - hairwork, uki-bori etc

October 24th Inlay; bleaching

October 30th Staining
Polishing and finishing
Group critique

Duration of course
5 consecutive Saturdays

Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking.
14 Cottage St, Blackburn

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