Press Release: Chalk and Clay Week of creative Short Courses at West Dean College

Investigate the diversity of earth materials, chalk and clay, and seek inspiration from the West Dean College Estate through exploring drawing and mark-making on a special themed week of short courses. A short cross-over session working with a different tutor brings new ideas and perspectives and each tutor will give a short illustrated talk. The week offers six different courses - including five brand new ones - to suit all levels from beginners to advanced (5 days 14 - 19 February).

Set within a Grade II* Listed country house, the College offers bed and breakfast residential accommodation (non-residential option also available). You can also explore the award-winning gardens where you can take a walk through the beautiful forty nine acre St. Roche's Arboretum offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Sussex Downs. West Dean is the perfect place to treat yourself and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, while learning something new or improving existing creative skills.

Discover the many possibilities of working with silver, copper and bronze clay, a soft malleable material which becomes a solid metal when fired. Experimenting with metal clay - silver, copper and bronze with Sarah Macrae (NEW £524 Suitable for all).

Combine different materials with pastel to create mixed media pieces. Apply pastel in new and interesting ways using fabric, fingers and other exploratory methods. Learn to think more laterally about image making and about what you want to communicate and find innovative and personal approaches to drawing. Creative drawing with pastels and mixed media with Freya Pocklington (NEW £559 Intermediate/Advanced).

Consider 'drawing' in the broadest sense through the experimental use of clay, chalk and charcoal through a series of exercises. Experimental drawing through physical engagement with materials with Veronique Maria. (NEW £559 Intermediate/Advanced).

Working from the Sussex chalk landscape use drawing to develop designs for ceramic platters and wall pieces. Discover ways to build complex and layered surfaces and decorate using your own hand cut stencils, stamps, linocuts and sgraffito designs. Slab built ceramics: responding to place with Anna Lambert (NEW £582 Suitable for all).

Take inspiration from the look and feel of the South Downs and in West Dean Gardens. Collect materials as a starting point for a series of exploration into surface qualities using a variety of media and techniques including drawing with ink and wax. Draw, print, scratch and cast - exploring surface qualities with Joanna Veevers (NEW £563 Suitable for all.)

Learn a fast and exciting approach to animal sculpting using a variety of pottery techniques. Working with paper clay and a simple external armature, the goal is not to make a realistic copy but an interpretation that captures the spirit and energy of the animal. Animal sculpting in paper clay with Susan Halls (£594 Suitable for all).


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 person sharing a twin room for two nights.

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 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 further information and high-resolution digital images, please contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ