Clay Animals with James Ort & Alison Pink, 1/2 April

Clay Animals with James Ort & Alison Pink, 1/2 April

Spend two days learning how to make clay animals using a contemporary technique that is loose, expressive and breaks all the rules!  The course is great for beginners and experienced artists alike.  And the best part is that you can make pretty much whatever animals you like too.

James Ort and Alison Pink have been teaching this popular class together for a few years now.  They specialise in a form of contemporary clay modelling which pushes clay to its limits – it’s a fast, easy to learn technique which brings life, energy and grace to the creations.

Over the two days you will be given a series of demonstrations that show you the key stages and principles of the technique.  The rest of the course will be spent making your own pieces with the tutors’ guidance and support every step of the way.  Once completed, your masterpieces will be dried out and then fired in our kilns.  You will then need to return for a later glazing session to bring colour and life to your pieces.


DAY 1:

Wall-mounted Portrait Heads.

Make pretty much the head of any animal of your choice be it mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian! You will make an armature and then be adding clay by breaking down the head into key muscle groups and shapes.
If there is time at the end of the day, we may start preparing for day 2.

DAY 2:

Four-legged standing animals.

The more challenging part of the course is making a four-legged animal. You will learn how to make a armature using a range of materials and techniques.


Bring your pieces to life with colour!

Return on one of our glazing days where you will learn how to use underglazes. There are various dates throughout the year to suit your diary!

This fun course includes:

  • Informal, relaxed & attentive guidance for every student, provided by James Ort & Alison Pink
  • Step-by-step demonstrations covering…
  • How to build an armature for wall mounted animal heads and standing animals
  • How to apply the clay to best capture the animal’s anatomy and features
  • How to create expressive facial features and give your piece character
  • An outline of the firing process in our kiln room
  • How to glaze your work using underglazes on a separate session after the two day course

Suitable for?

Anyone regardless of experience.

We generally limit the age to 14 years old+ though exceptions can be made where appropriate. Please contact James Orts and ask.

What is included in the price?

  • Two full days teaching (10am-4.30pm-ish)
  • A printed course handout outlining the technique’s main principles
  • Clay, firings and glazes
  • A glazing session once your pieces have been bisque fired*
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits/cakes
  • Use of a beautiful, purpose built art studio with all the equipment & materials you will need
  • Beautiful countryside setting
* James runs various glazing days throughout the year. You will be asked to sign up for one of these days once you have booked your place. Glazing typically takes between 2-4 hours to glaze but this depends on the artist!

This course is for you if:

  • You want to explore your creativity but lack the confidence to do so on your own
  • You want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a fun, creative environment
  • You want to experiment in clay but aren’t interested in pottery
  • You love animals

Pre course prep

If you have signed up for the course or are considering doing so then you just need to do a little preparation beforehand.  In a nutshell you need to collect reference material on which your sculpture will be based (i.e. pictures of your subject matter from various angles).

You will be sent an automated email on booking which prompts you towards documents that help you prepare for your time here. If this does not happen then please email James before the course.

Need accommodation?

If you are travelling from further afield and would like to stay in the area for your visit then have a look at our recommend B&Bs and hotels.  Click here for the list.

Return Glazing Session

Once you have made your creations on the weekend, they will need to be dried & bisque fired before they can be glazed.  This means that you will need to return at another time to glaze your work, then another to collect the finished pieces.

I run various glazing sessions after the course, one of which you will need to book yourself onto.  You book yourself a slot using a website called doodle – it’s very easy to do and you will be sent details of how to do this.

Beyond The Course

Having completed a clay animal course many of our students choose to explore clay further. They may come on another weekend course, start coming to our Creative Monday Sessions, evening sessions or carry on independently at home (you can bring your pieces here to be fired in our kilns).

£285 per person, including...

your tuition, your return glazing session, all your clay, materials, glazes, firings, tea, coffee, biscuits & cake


James Ort

James is the main tutor of this course. He manages the Phoenix Studio, moving up to the Shire from Brighton nearly a decade ago. He quickly took up sculpting, finding he was equally drawn to ceramic and wire (he teaches courses in both mediums here at the studio).

He has always loved animals and his late Grandfather, the Ladybird children’s book illustrator Brian Price Thomas was a big catalyst for both his love of wildlife and art.

Alison Pink

Alison is a ceramic artist who runs the courses alongside James. She was one of James’ first students and caught ‘ceramic-itis’ immediately, quickly developing her own way of working and style. Since then Alison has gone on to build her own studio in her garden and bought a kiln.

In addition to keeping James on the straight & narrow during these courses, she sells her work in exhibitions and galleries, as well as takes commissions.

At the end of the course we are confident that you will come away with two pieces that you can be happy with and have a great sense of pride & achievement.  Who knows, discovering ceramics may change the course of your life – it certainly has mine!

James Ort – Course Tutor

We get wonderful feedback from the people who attend this course.  Here are just a couple of testimonials:

Had a really great time on the two day course with James and was amazed and very pleased at what I was able to produce as a newcomer. The turorials were inspiring and James and Alison were very patient and great fun to be around. And such lovely surroundings at the studios – a perfect way to spend a weekend!

Ciara Murray

A great creative weekend. The studio is beautiful, well equipped and in a wonderful location. The resident chickens roam around the large wild lawns and we were even lucky enough to have lunch outside in early April! The tuition was brilliant. James and Alison were very thorough and made you feel very comfortable and confident. It was amazing what we were able to create in a matter of hours. James and Alison were always on hand to give instruction, suggestion and encouragement, and always in a relaxed, informal and very friendly way. The weekend was very social with a really supportive atmosphere. I will DEFINITELY be going back.

Nikki Windridge

£285 per person, including...

your tuition, your return glazing session, all your clay, materials, glazes, firings, tea, coffee, biscuits & cake

Comments are closed.