21A-2023 – Wild Animals – James Ort

May 21 – 27 2023

Ceramic Sculpture workshop

Suitable for all levels

21A-2023 – 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 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 you creations some energy.

Techniques taught

The technique 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 dools 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


May 21 – 27 2023

Length of course

5 working days in the studio


For all levels




€ 400


€ 1550


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 EU consumer protection legislation.
If La Meridiana cannot hold the course due to unforeseen events beyond our control, La Meridiana reserves the right to offer a voucher for a different course of your choice. The voucher is valid for two years. The deposit will be transferred to the new course.


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; single room on request at additional fee of 230 euros per week;
Shared kitchen facilities and shared bathroom.
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.


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.