How a modelmaking student is helping dune restoration in Studland

James Taberner

James Taberner is a final year modelmaking student, who is now working with the Dynamic Dunescapes team at National Trust Studland Bay in Dorset, to produce a model of the dune system. When completed, it will be used to help visitors understand how a dune system works, and explore the different habitats that a healthy dune system should have.

I find myself very fortunate to be involved in the Dynamic Dunescapes project, having been asked to produce an educational model that highlights the unique nature of the Sand dunes in Studland's Shell bay, This model is for my third year project where we seek an 'external brief' that gives us as Modelmaking students an opportunity to experience what it will like to work in our profession and prepare us for life after our graduation later on this year.

Since the global pandemic set in on the tail-end of my second year of the course I have found this a challenging situation especially with the reliance on workshop machines to produce the vast majority of our models, lockdown afforded me the unique opportunity to work in a 'craft' handmade manner from home, I produced miniature dioramas in found objects as a personal interest of mine, the situation I found made me resourceful in the methods I applied to my making, you can see my second year model underneath where I chose to make a 1970's themed diorama set in a vintage Polaroid land camera. The idea of my miniature citizen's being cast in time on New years eve connected to a Essay I wrote on the appeal of miniature play and its connection to 'Longing and Nostalgia in miniature worlds.' A true snapshot in time.

a hand-drawn sketch on paper of a model which shows the different successional stages of sand dunes
a hand-drawn sketch on paper of a model which shows the different successional stages of sand dunes

Having recently started designing and sketch modelling for my 'Dynamic dunescapes' model I would like to share with you some of the design sketches that I have produced that I hope will give you an insight into the model I will produce for this fantastic cause!

Dunescape front image (2)

I look forward to producing the model that I hope will help guests gain an insight into how the Dynamic dunes are formed and how the nature of these wonderful dunes can be explored to the fullest.

To find more of my work please follow this link to my WordPress account where I will be updating the journey of the making of the Dunescape model weekly!


Click here to find out more about our work in Studland.

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About the Author

James Taberner 
Modelmaking Student

I am currently studying in the last year of a BA Modelmaking course with 'The Arts University Bournemouth', for the past couple of years I have seen all the various roads that Modelmaking can bring (its a little known but very vast subject!), In recent projects I have gravitated towards the soft edge sculpting side of the profession alongside an interest in Miniature diorama building.

I have had a desire to create for as long as I can remember, I got into sculpting and painting as a teenager and have been in love with it ever since. In my spare time I enjoy organising a local Art group in Bournemouth called 'Drink and Draw' the group has been running for the past few years offering local arty folk an opportunity to socialise and practise thier craft with other like-minded creatives.


As a mature student I decided a couple of years back that I would like to make a career out of my interest in the world of Art & Design, I found taking small steps towards taking the plunge to enter a BA worked best for me starting in short courses in painting and life drawing.

I really can't believe how fast the time has gone now being in my final year of the degree, I look forward to using my skills to help benefit the local community and raise recognition of the wonderful world of Modelmaking!