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Wire & mixed media sculpture courses with James Ort

I love this piece made by one very happy student!

Duration: 2 day course

Price: £200

Book with: James Ort
at The Phoenix Studio

The Phoenix Studio
Chinnor Rd
Towersey, Near Thame

Course Start Dates

Wednesday 19th February 2020
Saturday 29th February 2020
Saturday 18th July 2020
Monday 19th October 2020
Saturday 12th December 2020

About the Course

Come and spend two days getting wired!
Learn how to use wire and other materials to make the sculpture of your choice – the 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 free-form wire sculpture techniques to bring your own ideas to life. He will give a brief talk about the various techniques and approaches on the first morning, leaving you with the rest of the time to lose yourself in creativity. James will also be on hand to guide and advise every step of the way.

Wire is such an amazing medium to work in – the wire used 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. It’s basically like drawing in air!

When James creates his own sculpture, he really focuses on symmetry, flow and form. 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!).

As your sculpture progresses you can incorporate a range of other materials into your design. We supply various materials but you can also bring your own, anything such as feathers, fabric, string, beads, jewellery, etc.

Suitable for?

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

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 loves sculpting all kinds of animals, human and natural forms – this is what he specialises 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 a bit out of his comfort zone so you both may have to do a bit of research beforehand about what it is you want to do.
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 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.
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.

Beyond The Course

Having completed a Phoenix Studio weekend many of our students choose to explore the medium further. They may come on another weekend course, start coming to our Creative Monday Sessions, evening sessions or carry on independently at home. We are more than happy to help and advise you in taking those first creative steps!

If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

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 visual movement to your creation
How to incorporate mixed media elements into your sculpture
Ideas on how to display your work at home and how to carry on creating beyond the course

What is included in the price?

Two full days teaching (10am-4pm-ish)
The use of materials and equipment needed to make a 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
*very occasionally a small surcharge may be added for more expensive materials. These are kept as minimal as possible

Want to review this course?

This is my second course with James. My first was the amazing animal clay course and this one was the wire mixed media course. Initially a frightening prospect but once James starts to explain and then to be at your side with advice and help it starts to come together. The final results were splendid and everybody enjoyed themselves and most of us will continue to use wire as a medium.

- - #24068

I was a bit daunted - as creating in wire felt out of my comfort zone - but, as ever, James encourages confidence and creativity, and everyone on our course - all novice to wire - produced splendid artwork to enjoy. I couldn't believe the results. It was an absorbing, fun way to spend 2 days with lovely people in a beautiful setting. This is my third course at the studio and I like it more and more. I would encourage anyone with a curious nature and creative soul to go and enjoy themselves there.

- - #18048

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Ahhh thanks Caroline! You made a lovely 'cooo' and it was great to see you take to wire so well! As ever, thanks for your loyalty! x

I would like to add my recommendation to the many that have already been posted I enjoyed a fantastic weekend arriving as a novice but leaving on a huge high having actually managed to.create a masterpiece (!) under James’ patient guidance! I was extremely impressed by his creativity and humour and the very efficient way he runs the studio and the speed he managed to start us all off. I can’t wait to make a return visit and am now inspired to greater achievements. How lucky I was to have found such a venue and cannot thank James enough.

- - #17949

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Wow, thanks for the amazing review Liz, what lovely words! I am so glad that you enjoyed your time here! Send me a pic of the swallow in situ!

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- - #17858

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Wow, thanks for such a lovely review Helen! It means a lot and I am so chuffed that you have learnt some new skills from your time here. It's been lovely having you come on Mondays too!
James x

I’ve had a wonderful two days wire sculpting with James. He is a fabulous tutor with lots of enthusiasm and patience.
The studio is very peaceful and relaxing it was especially lovely to see his hens wandering about too.
This course has really inspired me especially seeing everyone’s creations too, we all did something different.
I would definitely recommend this course and I will be back to do something else next year.
Thankyou James.

- - #17856

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Thanks for your lovely review Barbara! It was great to see you go on your creative journey and watch your confidence grow as the course went on! Hope you can come back soon x

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- - #16487

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Thanks for the lovely detailed review Claire! I enjoyed teaching you as much as you seemed to enjoy being taught. It was so inspirational seeing your pieces develop and how you put your own unique twist on them!

This is now the third time I have been taught by James on the wire and mixed media course. It has once again been an inspirational experience generating so many creative ideas that I cannot wait to return and also attempt something at home. James has the ability to empower you to believe you can achieve your creative goal. His positive and relaxed teaching approach, together with the calm studio setting including ‘clucking chickens’ makes his courses irresistible.

- - #16473

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

Ahh thanks for the great review Irene! As ever, you were a please to teach! Love the horse you made too x

The three days we have spent at the Phoenix Studios making things from wire with James Ort just couldn't have been better. With his artwork around us and delightful students the weekend was full of inspiration and fun. You can be a complete beginner and still make something to be proud of. James will give everyone the help that they need to make even the biggest struggles pleasurable. I would recommend the course.

- - #16472

Response from The Phoenix Studio:

James Ort - 'Making even the biggest struggles pleasurable!'

Thanks for my new tagline Caroline and for being a lovely loyal student! x

I would also give this course the highest recommendation! James is a young, talented artist in all the media he teaches in (plus more I'm sure!), but he is that rare find - an empathetic, balanced and clever tutor. He kept an eye on all of us, encouraging us all to put our best creative 'hats' on, giving advice and an opinion if you asked for it. This is especially vital when you're new to a creative media, as we all wanted our work to look the best it could - and it did!! I was amazed at what I was able to create, but also with all the other great varied pieces of work everyone else created. His encouragement of the group to share ideas/praise/encouragement with each other really works. His pre-course advice was super helpful, all admin re: the course spot on, and he even makes a great lemon drizzle cake!! I can't wait to go back and try other things, soon as possible. This guy is a lovely person and his teaching/studio are REALLY good - just GO :-)

- - #14225

What a wonderful couple of days we've had at Pheonix studios! Just finished the 2-day weekend wire sculpture course. James is great - relaxed, encouraging, really keen to understand what you're trying to build and then guide you through it. The studio is lovely - bright, spacious, with all the kit you might need. And the atmosphere was great - friendly & fun. Would thoroughly recommend!

- - #14205

I absolutely loved this course. Having never worked with wire before I was over-the-moon with the sculpture I created. I did A level art in 1978, before James was even born!! & since then have been too busy working as a Nurse to be an artist. This course has certainly given me food for thought & I will definitely book on another course. James is a fabulous tutor with a warm personality. The studio is the perfect environment, peaceful, light & comfortable. Thank you.

- - #14191

I am just home from the most wonderful two day wire sculpting course with James. It was excellent. I loved the relaxed level of organisation which looked relaxed but was actually bang on. We were set up so fast and empowered and encouraged throughout the two days. James has a lovely coaching style of teaching and ensured we all got one to one time so we could leave feeling we really had achieved something special. I would have no hesitation in recommending this course and actually the studio as a whole - it's a fabulous venue

- - #14128

Great weekend with a lovely mix of people. Fab tuition and well resourced with all kinds of bits and pieces. Just as good for beginners as for artists...always something new to learn. Great fun, great creativity, great cake!! Will be returning again and again and would recommend.

- - #13182

What a wonderful to spend a couple of days!
James is an excellent teacher, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm but also very down to earth.
I was not sure what to expect from the weekend except maybe to feel a little out of my depth. Other than junk modelling with the children (a long time ago) I have had absolutely no experience of art or craft classes.
The class was incredibly relaxed and friendly, I found the whole weekend immensely rewarding and inspiring. I am sure everyone left feeling absolutely delighted with their ‘masterpieces’ , I certainly was.
I really couldn’t recommend this course highly enough. Absolutely no experience required just a little self-belief and imagination.
Will definitely go back.

- - #10546

This course is partly about making the sculpture you had in mind when you walked into the studio and you certainly are well-supported in attaining this goal. But you also leave the course with new ideas and a road-map leading you to their creation. Having had no experience in working in three dimensions, I was amazed to find I had created a figure which bore a real resemblance to what it was supposed to represent! The Phoenix Studio where James Ort teaches his courses is incredibly conducive to creativity. You can sit, stand, walk about, drink tea etc. at will. You naturally tune in to the creative spirit which pervades the space. And it's fun! There is laughter and nurture in equal measure. I strongly recommend this course to anyone who would like to work with wire.

- - #10519

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- - #10349

I thoroughly enjoyed the wire and mixed media course last week and I thought we were a great creative group. Phoenix studio is in a beautiful setting and James is a very good, encouraging teacher. James showed us how to use the wire and helped everyone with their individual needs, so by the end of the two days I had learnt a great deal and achieved a pleasing sculpture. I can not think of any way the course can be improved . For me personally I was pleased that the course was mid-week rather than during a weekend so maybe keep one course a year mid-week.
A wonderful course, thank you Fiona

- - #10258

Again... Another great couple of days at The Phoenix Studio.
Great tuition and support throughout the course. A beautiful setting and a great mix of people.
You won't be dissapointed !
Thanks James:)

- - #10222

This has been one of the best courses i have attended. The studio setting is relaxing and nurturing and an ideal environment to explore your creative self and be inspired.
James taught us basic techniques based on symmetry and allowing the wires to naturally flow. Over the two days we all created something special and something to be proud of. I will definitely be returning.

- - #9697

This two day course was brilliant - it doesn't matter if you're a beginner (like me) or come with experience and your own ideas. James is a great teacher - clear about the things that matter and his interventions are positive and supportive. It was a privilege to work in the studio and sit outside for lunch with other participants - who, on this occasion, were skilled creators and fabulous company. It's my second visit to the Phoenix - and I'll definitely be back.

- - #5102

We have just returned home from our second visit to The Phoenix Studios and will definitely be back for more. The setting is beautiful, the course content inspiring and motivational and as for James, well, he can't be improved upon. He has a wonderfully friendly, informal style which relaxes even the most apprehensive student and manages to support each and everyone in the group so that you leave feeling fulfilled and motivated to carry on and have another go. It was almost like being at a family event!

- - #5059

I've just spent two fun filled days on a wire and mixed media course. The wonderful sculptures made by my fellow attendees... aided and encouraged throughout by James (not forgetting Ben), left me in absolute awe of everyone's creativity. James' relaxed and friendly manner was inspiring. I will definitely try to do more at home. Were it not for the logistics of getting to the studio each time from Essex, I would happily book ALL of the Phoenix Studio courses. Simply brilliant!

- - #4051

What a fantastic course, I wish it could have lasted for more than the two days! James is an inspirational teacher who helped all of us to achieve brilliant results - and I certainly came away with inspiration for many more wire sculptures that I want to do!

- - #4048

Just come back from another wire and mixed media weekend course with James, its always such fun. He is not only very encouraging, but has a wonderful eye for anatomy, and comes up with amazing ideas for building the details of the sculptures. I thoroughly recommend his courses!

- - #2257

Excellent teacher, lovely studio with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Will definitely go again!

- - #2256

I highly recommend this course and was amazed at what I went home with from the two weekends spent at Phoenix studios. James is an excellent teacher, who encourages and helps students to carry out their own ideas. The well equipped light studio looking onto the garden is a splendid place to work. I will definitely go again.

- - #2007

Review this course

  • Accessible by public transport
  • Accommodation offered
  • Advanced/professional level
  • Daytime (weekdays)
  • Events & groups
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Romantic
  • Stag and hen dos
  • Suitable for all abilities
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • Weekends
  • Wheelchair friendly

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