Free-form Wire Sculpture with James Ort, 2022

Date(s) - 08/12/2035
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Phoenix Studio, Chinnor Road, Towersey, Oxfordshire, OX9 3QZ



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Come and spend two days getting wired with James Ort!

Learn how to use wire to make the sculpture of your choice – the only limit is your imagination!  This course is perfect for releasing the creativity that we all have inside ourselves, regardless of your ability or experience. And the best part is that wire is so accessible you can carry on doing it at home with minimal expense!

Join James for this inspiring and practical course that will teach you how to create free-form wire sculpture, essentially just using some wire and basic hand-held tools. Over the two days will be shown how to turn your own ideas to life. James will give a brief talk about the various techniques and approaches on the first morning, leaving you with the rest of the two days to lose yourself in creativity. James will be on hand the whole time to guide and advise you every step of the way.

Wire is such an amazing medium to work in – it can be surprisingly pliable and easy to manipulate.  At the same time however, it can assembled in ways that bring great strength and rigidity.  This makes creating very dynamic forms a reality, something that is not always easy with most sculptural mediums such as clay or stone.  It’s basically like drawing in air!

What James loves about wire is how you can keep it so minimalist – the human eye can see just a few lengths of wire and the human mind fills in the gaps. It is surprising how so little material can give such a vivid sense of mass, movement, energy and form! When James creates his own sculpture, he really focuses on symmetry, flow and anatomy. He will talk you through the principles of how he works but ultimately, it’s up to you to find a way of working that suits you (though James may give you a wee nudge along the way if required!).

All the wire you will need is provided for this course, it’s just up to you on how you use it. Please note, James prefers to create living forms (such as animals and humans). You can create abstract forms too but if you want to make man-made objects with straight/precise lines, such as cars or planes, then this course may not be for you.



Brief talk & demonstration.

James will discuss what can be done with wire and how to make it happen. Special attention will be paid to capturing structural integrity WHILST capturing form.


Your time create!

You’ve seen how & what can be done, now you have the rest of the weekend to create. James will be on hand to offer advice & support as needed.

This fun course includes:

  • Informal, relaxed & attentive guidance for every student, provided by James Ort
  • A morning demonstration showing…
  • How to use a range of wire types(for example fencing wire, chicken wire and sheet metal)
  • How to assemble your sculpture in order to make it both stable and lifelike
  • How to handle the wire to bring symmetry, flow and a sense of movement to your creation
  • Whilst this course does not use mixed media elements, James will provide hand made ceramic beads which can be added to emulate eyes.
  • Ideas on how to display your work at home and how to carry on creating beyond the course

Suitable for?

Anyone regardless of experience – we generally limit the age to 14 years old+ though.

What is included in the price?

  • Two full days teaching (10am-4.30pm)
  • The use of materials and equipment needed to make a wire sculpture*
  • A printed course handout outlining the technique’s main principles
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits/cakes
  • Use of a beautiful, purpose built art studio with all the equipment & materials you will need
  • Beautiful countryside setting

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 delve into a creative medium that can handle the wild thoughts of your imagination!
  • You want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a fun, creative environment
  • You want to experiment in a medium that is accessible and cheap to pursue at your own leisure – this could be your new life’s passion!
  • You have been dreaming for years about making a piece of art to go in your home or garden

What should you make?

  • Anything really! James really dislikes restricting what his students make however, please keep the following points in mind…
  • The tutor’s areas of expertise.
    • James love sculpting all kinds of animals, human and natural forms – this is what he specialise in and excites him.
    • However, he is not as confident in creating man-made structures, wire trees, shells or dandelion/seed heads. That’s not to say he can’t help you realise your vision (he has helped many students create these over the years), they are just not quite as within his comfort zone so to speak.
  • Be realistic about the size of your sculpture!
    • A life size elephant may be pushing it on a two day course!
    • Please try to create something that can be completed in two days.
    • A life size dog, heron or red kite is about as big as you should probably go.
    • We do ask that any unfinished sculpture be taken home with you after the two days as storage is a problem.
    • If you need more wire to finish off your sculpture after the course then we would happily sell you additional materials or tell you where to get them from.

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 from 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.

Beyond The Course

Having completed a Phoenix Studio weekend many of our students choose to explore the medium further. They may come on another sculpture course here (following on from this course, the 3-day Wire and Mixed Media Sculpture Course with James would be a fine choice to add to your knowledge). We are more than happy to help and advise you on how to reach out to the wider creative community and in taking those first creative steps when you het home! After the course, James sends out a follow-up email with links on where to source materials for sculpting at home.