Press Release: Basketweaving, chair seating and willow work, Short Courses at West Dean College

Head for the warmth of the studios and workshops this winter and spend time getting to grips with basket weaving and willow work using sustainable materials. Between November and April. There are four NEW basketry and willow short courses, including a one day Taster Course. Inspirational tutors explore age-old techniques drawn from around the world. With courses lasting from 1 to 4-days there is something to suit everyone. During your stay you will have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens to enjoy some brisk winter walks and be inspired by the beautiful South Downs landscape.

Mary Crabb will show you how to weave pod forms in a range of sizes and with texture, colour and pattern, using a variety of materials from rope to threads. Textile basketry - exploring twined pod forms (NEW 27 - 29 November £230 Beginners/Intermediate).

Learn how to make Christmas decorations in willows, including fish, trees and stars, which will last from year to year. Festive willow decorations with Dominic Parrette (Taster Course 3 December £120 Beginners).

Make a full-sized indigenous animal, such as a deer or a fox, using willow with coppice craftsman Dominic Parrette Sculptural animal forms in willow (18 - 21 January £372 Beginners/Intermediate).

Learn traditional chair seating techniques including handling materials, weave and the finishing process. Chair seating with cane, rush, willow or cord with Mary Butcher (8 - 11 January £343 Suitable for all).

Mary will also be teaching Willow Basketmaking for beginners (NEW 11 - 14 March £232).

Dominic also teaches Willow work for the garden which will show you how to introduce structure into your garden by making a spiral or domed plant support, willow hurdle, large sphere or fan trellis (7 - 9 March £232 Beginners/Intermediate).

Danish basketmaker Ane Lyngsgaard returns to West Dean this winter with a new course

Willow basketmaking - organic asymmetric baskets (25 - 29 January £445 Intermediate). Ane will show you how to weave functional or sculptural asymmetric shaped baskets from willow to produce beautiful baskets with a textile-based organic appearance.

Artist and basketmaker Tim Johnson will teach you how to work with soft materials like rushes, grasses and handmade cordage as you explore a variety of weft twining techniques from worldwide basketry traditions.

Basketry - exploring weft twining NEW (8 - 10 April £234 Suitable for all).


West Dean College offers a range of bursaries to talented students who would not otherwise be able to study at the college. Find out more information on the FDAD and West Dean College bursaries.


Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. The bedrooms are a mixture of contemporary and traditional styling. From £102 per twin room for two nights.

Find out more information about Short Courses at West Dean First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)2143 818300.


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • West Dean College offers over 700 creative short courses and is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation and Creative Arts.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in visiting the Gardens, attending a course or an event for news or review purposes or filming at West Dean should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ


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We are part of a registered charity and rely on the support of generous donors, members and legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation, design and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

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