Figurative Sculpture in Clay

Let your creativity shine

Casa Berti, in collaboration with Art Escape Italy, is able to offer you a selection of week long art retreats dedicated to helping you hone your craft.

Our painting workshops focus predominantly on oil painting – portrait, figure and plein air landscape painting. Our instructors are trained in academic painting techniques, and teach either sight-size or comparative measurement methods. In 2017 we have added sculpture workshops to our program – learn to sculpt in the tradition of Rodin with Jason Arkles in March 2017.

Retreat prices include tuition, accommodation, meals, model fees if applicable, and transfers. You can either purchase all the materials that you need for your workshop on arrival, or you can bring your own materials with you. See the materials list for each workshop.

Figurative Sculpture in Clay

March 5 – March 11

  • 5 days tuition, 6 nights accommodation
  • ​Instructor: Jason Arkles
  • Level: Beginner to Advanced
  • Medium: Clay

This intensive retreat and workshop is the perfect opportunity for those with an interest in sculpture to learn the sight-size approach to figure modelling. In just five days of tuition, each student develops a 40% life-size seated or reclining figure from life and prepares the work for firing. Students will create their models without armatures, and this course is loaded with tips and techniques for building strong, stable forms in nothing but clay. In addition to instruction and critiques, Jason works alongside the class on his own figure project, giving a demonstration of techniques and processes throughout the course. This course is for all levels of experience.

Being an almost entirely optical/visual approach to art making, the sight-size technique is normally associated with portrait painters. Jason himself learnt sight-size from the painter Charles Cecil, who commissioned Jason with the task of adapting the method for three-dimensional work in 1997. The resulting method is now taught in studios around the world, thanks both to Jason’s teaching and to his book with documents the technique, titled Sculpting from Life – A Studio Manual of the Sight-Size Method.


The Instructor

Jason Arkles

Jason Arkles is an American sculptor living and working in Florence, Italy. After training at the Charles H.Cecil studio in Florence, where he was instrumental in adapting sight-size technique for sculpture, and then training in marble carving in Pietrasanta, Jason opened his own teaching studio in 2009 – the Studio Della Statua. Jason’s work focuses upon portraiture, sacred art, and figurative marble. An ardent student of art history, Jason is the host of the popular podcast for figurative sculptors, The Sculptor’s Funeral.

To see more of Jason’s work and learn about Studio Della Statua, visit

To listen to The Sculptor’s Funeral podcast, subscribe in iTunes, or go to


Day 1  | March 5
Pick up from Lucca train station at 4pm
Welcome dinner

Day 2  | March 6
9am-12pm: Workshop begins – introduction to the technique and designing a figure in terracotta
2pm-5pm: Modelling from life

Days 3-5  | Mar 7-9
9am-12pm: Modelling from life
2pm-5pm: Modelling from life
Dinner and optional evening activity

Day 6  | March 10
9am-12pm: Final session with the model
2pm-5pm: Finishing touches on the sculpture and hollowing out ready for firing
Farewell dinner

Day 7  | March 11
Departure, transfer to Lucca train station at 10am



  • Start: March 5, 2017
  • ​End: March 11, 2017
  • Skill level: Beginner to Advanced


  • From €2165 private dbl
  • From €1700 pp twin share
  • Includes: tuition, materials, accommodation, meals, transfers

Book this course

For pricing and booking click here


Get in touch for more information.

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