24A-2024 – Wild Animals – James Ort

June 9 – 15 2024
Ceramic Sculpture workshop

Suitable for all levels

24A-2024 – Wild Animals – James Ort


There is so much breath-taking beauty in the animal kingdom. It has taken millions of years of evolution to shape the forms, physiology and behaviour of wild animals in order for them to become perfectly adapted for their habitats. It is little wonder why mankind feels compelled to capture the beauty of the natural world in art, and yet, recreating animals in clay can all too often feel clumsy and lacking in grace, poise and life.
On this five-day course James Ort will teach you how to create ceramic animals using a contemporary technique that is loose, expressive, breaks all the rules and brings your pieces to life!  The technique is fast, easy to learn and gives your creations some energy.

Techniques taught

The technique of Wild Animals revolves around building your clay forms around a newspaper armature and you can make pretty much whatever animals you like, except for birds, becasuse they need more materials, time and tools than other animals. We will start understanding the method by making wall mounted animal portrait heads, and over the course of the week build up to more complex four-legged standing animals and wall mounted dynamic poses which require more complex armatures. Once completed, your masterpieces will be dried out and then bisque fired in our kilns.  You will be shown how to bring colour and life to your pieces with the use of underglazes.

Teaching Method

You will be given a series of demonstrations throughout the course that show you the key stages and principles of the technique.  The rest of the time will be spent making your own pieces with James’ guidance and support every step of the way. Attention will be paid to capturing the animal’s form – looking at proportions, anatomy and attitude. James has a light hearted and attentive approach and prides himself on getting the best out of his students.


Students will study in the beautiful environment of La Meridiana, hosted in nearby accommodation and a full meal will be served on all course days. This workshop is suitable for all levels.The last kiln opening will be in the morning of Saturday, plan your travels so to not leave La Meridiana before 9.30 am.

The artist

James Ort is a wildlife artist. Creating in ceramic is his main love, but he often makes art using wire, mixed media, painting, and drawing. He often combines different materials where appropriate. He discovered sculpture when he became manager of the Phoenix Studio – an art school in Oxfordshire. A lifelong fascination in wildlife and former career in conservation, James uses his understanding of anatomy and form to push ceramics to its limits. He regularly teaches sculpture and is passionate about using his art to benefit others – be it wildlife or mankind. James was very much inspired and influenced by his nature loving Grandfather, Brian Price Thomas whom illustrated a number of the Ladybird Children Books.
Instagram:  @james.ort




James Ort


Sunday June 9 (arrival) – Saturday June 15 (departure) 2024

Length of course

5 working days in the studio


For all levels




€ 500


€ 1850


La Meridiana is equipped to comply with the current safety standards regarding Covid-19, including social distancing between people in and outside the studio. The daily maintenance of hygiene measures is guaranteed.  Please note that participants will be required to follow the security protocol and to comply with some simple precautions.

Additional Information

The workshop fee includes the following:
Tuition of 6 – 8 hours per day;
Studio open 11 hours per day;
All materials and firings;
Lodging in shared double room in apartments of simple standard at maximum 15 minutes walking distance.
Single room and/or upgraded accommodation on request, at additional fee. All apartment types have shared kitchen and shared bathroom facilities. Please note that at times, not all room types may be available.
Freshly prepared three course lunch with wine on all working days;
Welcome breakfast, Welcome and Final dinner;
Coffee break in the mornings and in the evenings.

Payment and Refund Policy

A deposit is required at registration. After submitting the registration form, you may proceed with the payment on-line. If you choose to pay by bank transfer, the registration will be confirmed once the deposit has been accredited in our banking account. The balance must be paid at the beginning of the course.

You may withdraw within 14 days of registration without incurring in any penalties and will have the deposit fully refunded.  No refund of deposits past 14 days of registration, pursuant to articles 53 and following of the Italian consumer legislation, in accordance with the EU consumer protection legislation. In the event of disputes, the competent court is Florence. If the workshop cannot be hold because of an insufficient number of students, the deposit will be fully reimbursed.
Force Majeure
Students must know that cancellations may occur due to events beyond our control (e.g. pandemic, civil disorder, medical or family issues of the instructor). In such case, La Meridiana reserves the right to offer a voucher for a different workshop of your choice. The voucher is valid for two years. The deposit will be transferred to the workshop of choice.

At booking, you may choose your preferred room type but depending on the availability, certain types at times may not be offered.

Choose the accommodation you prefer: