Press Release: Get started in woodworking and furniture making, Short Courses at West Dean College

Join the woodworking experts at West Dean College and learn techniques such as traditional cabinet making, repairing furniture, chair making, upholstery, furniture painting, woodturning, wood carving and more.

Create detail, form and texture in the style of the ancient Japanese miniature decorative carving technique, called Netsuke, using wood, stag antler, artificial ivory, Perspex or hard wax. After modelling sketches in wax, carve using small, flexible pendant drills. Netsuke carving with Peter Clothier (22 - 24 May £220 Beginners/Intermediate).

Practise furniture making techniques as you make a cabinet. Demonstrations and support from the tutor will guide you through the principles while using hand tools and basic router skills. Furniture making skills - a wall cabinet with Tom Kealy (12 - 17 July £539 Beginners/Intermediate).

Get to know a range of useful woodworking skills and make a small portable bookcase. The tutor will guide you through measuring, marking, cutting, planning and jointing timber using mainly hand tools. Woodworking skills - portable bookcase project with Mark Cass (17 - 19 July £258 Beginners).

Work with traditional hand tools and techniques in combination with the elemental forces of fire and water to make wood and ceramic vessels. This experimental course explores making vessels as a spontaneous and fluid journey as you carve greenwood and work in stoneware clay. Elemental making - vessels in wood and clay with Nic Webb (23 - 27 August £477 Suitable for all).

Gain an understanding of traditional and contemporary methods to care for your favourite furniture. Follow a systematic approach from identification and condition assessment through to treatment proposals and hands-on work. Repairing and caring for furniture with Norbert Gutowski (30 August - 3 September £437 Beginners/Intermediate).

Take a simple, small table design with uncomplicated joinery as a project to try out new ideas and learn how to fine-tune your furniture making skills including the edge profile, leg shape, chamfers, curves, apron details and inlays. Make an occasional table with exquisite details with Garrett Hack (20 - 25 September £571 Intermediate).

Upholster your own chair with a drop-in seat and learn to fix webbing, make the seat stuffing, cover it in calico and add fabric covering. Traditional upholstery for beginners with Richard Ricardo (4 - 7 October £337).


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. Student rates from £95 for two nights bed & breakfast.


For more information about Short Courses at West Dean and to browse the digital brochure visit . First time bookings receive a 10% discount (telephone bookings only call +44 (0)2143 818300).


Notes to editors:

  • West Dean Gardens are part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean College, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The award winning Gardens are open from 1 February - 20 December with special event days throughout the year; Annual House Opening (9 & 10 May), Design and Craft Fair (19 - 21 June), 20th Anniversary Chilli Fiesta (7 - 9 August), Half Term Halloween activities (26 - 31 October) and Father Christmas visits (12 & 13 and 19 & 20 December).
  • The College runs over 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening, music and creative writing each year as well as full time postgraduate programmes 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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