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Shiplake College News

The Art of Wire

On Monday 19 February, we were delighted to welcome back ceramic and wire sculptor, James Ort, to the College for a day workshop with our Year 10 pupils. This is now the 6th year that James has visited to spend the day with our young artists and from the sculptures created, it was clear that our pupils benefitted greatly from his tutelage and experience.

Year 10 art scholar and GCSE artist, Will Smith, reports on the workshop: 

'We started the day by meeting James Ort, and it was very interesting to hear about his personal life and how he discovered his passion for art and sculpting. It was great to find out how his degree in biology influences his focus in art, especially his love of all creatures and capturing their characteristics in clay or wire. 

Having learned about James, he then introduced wire and how we should start shaping our chosen animals. He demonstrated how we should start by drilling holes in a base, before threading wires through the holes to secure the feet onto the base. We were given pliers and other tools to bend and cut the wire. He then talked about how we should shape the wire to define the muscles to provide an accurate initial shape. He also showed us how to bind the wires using zip ties initially, which we would then later replace with thin wire to secure the shape of the animal. 

This was the first time I have constructed anything with wire and so I found it very exciting and enjoyable. I found it quite challenging to achieve the right shape with the wire because everything was interlinked. For example, if I moved one bit of wire, the rest of the sculpture moved slightly, which meant that I had to think about the sequence in which I built my sculpture. 

I enjoyed seeing my sculpture come together at the end. This is because it took a while to take shape, but by the end I was very pleased with my first attempt at a wire sculpture. I chose to do a rabbit because of the distinctive features of the bushy tail and the ears. Overall, I feel that my sculpture quite closely resembles a rabbit - not bad for a first attempt!'

Head of Art, Miss Jiggens, adds:  

'We were delighted to have James back at the College to run a brilliant wire workshop with our Year 10 artists! The day was jam-packed with demonstrations and wire making, and every student did so well to produce a brilliant wire model of their chosen animal. Thank you, James, for coming - we know that the students get a lot out of the day they spend with you. Every year we run this workshop it inspires some students to take it forward for their independent projects.'

Flickr album: James Ort Wire Workshop - February 2024 | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default Skin