Ceramic animal sculpture with Jack Durling

Ref: SLW29699

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About this course

Learn how to make hollow three-dimensional animal sculptures from flat sheets of clay in combination with coiling techniques and modelled additions. Working from your source images, learn how to capture the essence of your animal and give your work a feeling of movement.

Course Description

This course will show you how to make a hollow animal sculpture from a flat sheet of clay, in combination with coiling techniques and modelled additions. The tutor will demonstrate both techniques, and you may select to use these individually or in combination to best capture the essence of the animal you wish to make. It is suitable for those with some experience of using clay, looking for new methods of making.

The tutor will demonstrate how to make a three-dimensional sculpture and then you will have a go at replicating this, as an exercise just to get a feel for the technique. Then you can begin to make your own piece. Everyone will be taught individually as necessary for the animal you choose to make.

You are encouraged to create animals of your choice; for instance, rhinos, elephants, primates, hares, pets and farm animals all make suitable subjects. In all cases, it is recommended that you bring in-depth imagery, photographs, drawings and sketches of your chosen animal. You will be encouraged to make some simple expressive drawings of your animal from these images on the first evening. Knowledge of the skeletal structure of the animal will be of a great advantage, and views from both sides: front and rear and from above, wherever possible, will enable a good outcome. The objective is to capture the essence of the animal and give the piece a feeling of movement.

We will be using mainly flax paper clay, which gives excellent strength at the green stage and allows for clay additions at any stage of the making process, as it re-wets very easily. The method also allows for easy repositioning of limbs and other additions. Being hollow allows for shaping from the inside, if needed, and little or no hollowing out is necessary.

Although information will be available, please bring your own research as well. The aim is for you to leave feeling confident in the technique, and that you will be able to use or adapt it for whatever you choose to make in the future.

After the course, you may leave your work at the College for biscuit firing to collect at a later date.

Work is left unglazed after a biscuit firing. Alternatively, you may take your work away for firing, and/or underglazing elsewhere.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • All clay and firing if work is left at the College for biscuit firing.
  • (Large work in size and quantity may be charged extra.)

What students need to bring

  • Images, photographs, drawings, sketches, etc. of the animal you have chosen to make. Knowledge of the skeletal structure of the animal will be of a great advantage, and views from both sides: front and rear and from above, wherever possible, will enable a good outcome.
  • Any modelling tools you have, fine tools are especially useful (marked with your name)
  • An apron and covered non-slip footwear

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good selection of art materials, sketchbooks
  • Modelling tools

Additional information

Firing and Glazing Options: 1. Leave any raw, finished pieces that you wish to keep for biscuit firing by the College, for collection within six months. 2. Take away your unfired sculpture for firing and glazing elsewhere. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Jack Durling

Jack Durling is a ceramic animal sculptor based in Brighton. He studied at Brighton University in 2014 and has run workshops with Blind Veterans UK and several educational facilities. He is currently working with Maidstone Borough Council to create a permanent public sculpture and is a David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation shortlisted wildlife artist in 2022.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.