The class will focus on what are perhaps the two most expressive parts of the body: the head and hand. In this two-week workshop, students will learn various techniques to create a series of life-sized bust and hands. Both hollow and solid construction methods will be taught as we work from a live model. Participants will gain understanding of the underling anatomical structures that allow these body parts to be so communicative while learning new techniques to achieve life-like sculptures with clay.
With this objective in mind, it is appropriate that the class should take place in one of the great centers of world sculpture! Indeed, through drawing sessions at the Medici Chapel and Academia Museum in Florence and the Vatican Museum in Rome, students will have the direct influence of the masters!
The class will start with a clay skull and add layers of muscle, culminating in a solid finished bust that will be hollowed out. This will allow us to learn about each muscle and its function in creating expression. Various techniques to hair, eyes, and ears will be covered, as well how to utilize the rules for proportion in your own work.
Students will also learn my hollow construction method used for creating instinctive, fast, and stable forms. Numerous presentations, discussions, and demonstrations will cover topics such as: conceptual considerations, how to measure models for reference work, professional development, impactful contemporary figurative artist, portfolio strategies, and any other topics that students might be interested in. Students will have an opportunity to exhibit their work at the end of the workshop. Open to all skill levels.
Participants will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. Your workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo Da Vinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with shared bath (a wide range of upgrades with private bath are available), 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday (no meals are served on Friday, our excursion day. Your workshop includes one excursion per week and many additional options are available on weekends for an additional fee. Of course, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.
Materials to bring from home:
Xiem, clay tools recommended, Towel, wire tool, paddle (or flat wood), Water spray bottle, small mirror, fabric tape measure
Richard W. James
Richard W. James is an assistant professor of ceramics at Miami University, Oxford OH. Prior to this, he was the assistant professor of sculpture and ceramics at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and held long-term artist-in-resident positions at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, MT (2017-2019), Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (2016-2017), and Zhenrutang in Jingdezhen, China (summer 2015). Richard received his BFA from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 2001 and his MFA in ceramics from the University of Kansas in 2016, where a portion of his thesis work received the 2016 International Sculpture Center and Sculpture Magazine Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. He was the recipient of the James Renwick Alliance Chrysalis Award (2019) for emerging artist in contemporary craft as well as the Ceramics Monthly Emerging Artist Award (2018). He has written multiple articles for Ceramics: Art and Perception, Ceramics: Technical and Ceramics Monthly. His work is featured in numerous private collections, publications, and websites including HI-FRUCTOSE and Glass Tire. He continues to exhibit regularly across the country, as well as past exhibits in in China and Italy.