The Elements of Ornament at ICAA

We know the devil is really in the ornament, specially in the Classical Architecture universe!

In classical design, ornament speaks a language used to achieve character. Like the orders of classical architecture, ornament can be resolved into elements. This one-day course provides an introductory overview to the most common ornamental elements, presented in lectures and drawing demonstrations. Students should be prepared to sketch in class, as personal practice is the only way to gain fluency in the language. Course content includes linear moulding ornaments in the morning and the acanthus leaf and volute in the afternoon.

Emily Bedard is a classical sculptor and ornamental designer who currently directs the art department for Foster Reeve Architectural & Ornamental Plaster. From the ICAA she has received the 2015 Stanford White Award for Craftsmanship and Artisanship, and the 2017 Award for Emerging Excellence in the Classical Tradition. 

Course Prerequisites

There are no strict prerequisites, but it is recommended that participants have had some exposure to the classical orders and the vocabulary of the elements. Participants should also be prepared to draw in class.

Required Materials and Readings

  • Sketchbook or loose paper, 9″ x 12″ or similar size
  • Pencils, hard and soft
  • Pens or graphic markers
  • Ruler/straight edge

Please note that some materials may be available for loan from the ICAA’s classroom. Should you be interested in borrowing materials for the class, please email [email protected].

What You Will Learn

  • A systematic understanding of the component parts of classical architectural ornaments
  • How to sketch the component parts of ornamental designs
  • How to recognize components in historical design examples
  • How to utilize ornamental elements in design to achieve character


Emily Bedard
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This is a beautiful course you shall not miss!