Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation launches 140 courses for April and May 2022

- Nourish your mind with new courses that combine drawing with meditation & mindfulness -

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has just launched their new programme of arts and crafts short courses for April and May 2022. It’s been shown that getting creative can work wonders for your metal health and wellbeing, so join expert tutors to paint, sew, sculpt, forge and nourish your mind this year. Invest in yourself with more than 140 short courses now on sale via which are suitable for all abilities. Courses span from one to five days and range in price from £128 upwards.

Set in the heart of the South Downs National Park, the College’s rural setting makes itan ideal place to escape, recharge, and immerse yourself in a new skill.

The many new courses will include a one-day course titled Mark-making and meditation with Katie Sollohub which connects the process of drawing through meditation using body and breath to respond to the expressive qualities of drawing materials, including charcoal, graphite and pencil. The course allows students to be inspired by the present moment, and the beautiful surroundings of West Dean College (April 12/ suitable for all/ £136). Veronique Maria’s Mindfulness drawing from the heart will use techniques such as visualisation, breath, meditations, focus, and relaxation to create a new drawing mindset and make sensitively responsive drawings. Each day the tutor will guide you through meditation exercises and guided visualisations that will increase yourability to relax and to focus (May 27-29/ suitable for all/ £298).

Other courses encourage studentsto interpret the local landscape; such as Philip Tyler’s Introduction to iPad Procreate –landscapes(April 14/ suitable for all/ £133). Among the gardening courses that take advantage of the College’s award-winning Gardens is Caring for your kitchen garden with Ria Marshall which focuses onsoil preparation, soil health, plant raising, pest and disease management and crop care, while creating space for nature to thrive (April 16/ beginners/ £143). The College’s historic interior, and key items in the collection such as the iconic Mae West Lips sofa by Salvador Dalí, will be highlighted in a new painting course with Nick Bodimeade - The chairs of West Dean – an investigation through painting is an experimental visual research course exploring West Dean's remarkable collection of chairs and sofas through drawing, photography and painting (April 10-15/ intermediate/ advanced/ £622).

Also taking advantage of the glorious grounds in Springtime will be Exploring paper lithography with Ralph Overill which will use the college settingto make sketches and take rubbings from textures and surfaces that can be incorporated into prints (April 8-10/ suitable for all/ £281); while Digital photography –spring colour in the landscape with Roy Matthews will involve walks of two to three miles taking in the picturesque West Dean Gardens and the surrounding South Downs (April 15-17/ intermediate/advanced/ £271)and Stitchbooks inspired by a walk in the park with Anne Kelly encourages students to create a personal response to a local journey or walk, using a variety of printing and mixed media collage techniques (May 22-24/ suitable for all/ £263). Brian Smith will lead Watercolour painting 'en plein air'(May 27-30/ intermediate/advanced/£387)and Drawing to painting in oils –spaces and surroundings withTim Patrick will explore the spaces and surroundings of West Dean, drawing from interiors and the outdoors, looking at how painters have been inspired by theirenvironment and sense of place (May8-11/ intermediate/advanced/£395).

There’s a wide variety of courses focussing on heritage crafts, these traditional methods are ideal for finding your mindful flow state and are suitable for all abilities, including Pleated fabric lampshades with Eloise Scotland (May 20-22/ £289); Make your own sketchbook and portfolio with bookbinder Kate Holland (May 25-27/ £285); Stone carving with selenite with Paula Haughney (May2-6/ £493); Woodcarving –an abstract sculpture with Alex Jones (May 6-9/ £415); Creative mosaic techniques with Guy Portelli (May 13-15/ £286); Braided rush baskets, in English and Spanish traditions with Tim Johnson (May1-6/ £644) and Persian and Indian miniature painting with Vaishali Prazmari (May 15-20/ £635).

Courses with a tactile natureto focus the senses, another pillar of mindfulness, include three-dimensional courses, an Introduction to paper folding with Kate Colin (April 5-7/ beginners/ intermediate/ £301); Press moulding animal figurines in clay with Susan Halls (April 24-29/ suitable for all/ £699); and Wire sculpture from life –moving forms with Linda Lewin (May 20-23/ suitable for all/ £415).

New silversmithing, metalworking and jewellery-inspiredcourses will be Damascus steel making with John Mosse, which explores the process of making pattern welded Damascus steel, that is used traditionally in the making of blades and other tools (April 4-8/ suitable for all/ £604), Hammer forming on cylinders with Grant McCaig (April 8-11/ intermediate/ £421); while Jessica Turrell will be offering the opportunity to learn about White and black enamelling –an in-depth exploration (April 28 –May1/ suitable for all/ £411) and An introduction to stone setting with Laura Ngyou (May20-22/ intermediate/ £280).

Drawing, painting and printmaking courses include Japanese ink painting with Rie Takeda (April 22-25/ suitable for all/ £424); Portraits in oils for beginners with Jane French (April 29 –May 1/ £308) and Drawing for beginners with Philip Tyler (April 15-17/ £278). Also with Rie Takeda is an Introduction to Japanese calligraphy –Shodo (April 20-22/ suitable for all/ £305), while MaryDalton’s Comprehensive printmaking course is suitable for all (May 15-20/ £617).

New art textiles courses include Between the folds –structure and concepts in textiles with Caroline Bartlett (May 8-11/ intermediate/advanced/ £404); Restored and remixed –conceptual textile practice with Michael Brennand-Wood (May 29 - June 2/ intermediate/ advanced/ £493) and Machine stitched textiles –meadow landscapes with Wendy Dolan (May 5-8/ suitable for all/ £391).

Creative writing courses include an introduction to news and feature writing with Tony Padman (May 27-29/ beginners/ £260).

To ensure a safe and welcoming campus,the College has put in place measures operating on a principle of the same as, or betterthan, national guidelines. This includes social distancing, self-opening doors, and extensive cleaning and sanitising protocols to protect students and staff. For more details on Social Distancing and COVID-19 measures, please visit

For full details, plus information on accommodation, please visit Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300.

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Notes to Editors:

• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’. 
• West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation and offers a wide selection of short courses a year, as well as part time and full time diploma and degree programmes to Masters level.
• The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
• All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
• West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.


For all media enquiries please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01243 818300

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ