Press Release: Learn traditional creative hand skills at West Dean College

West Dean College offers short courses where you can learn the traditional skills of blacksmithing, silversmithing and metalworking. From the basic techniques to complex processes, with the expert guidance of the college's tutors and on-site forge students can develop the practical skills needed to make vessels, gates, sculptures, candlesticks and much more. Whether you want a creative holiday, time to immerse yourself in your craft or to learn a new skill, come to West Dean for an alternative summer break. There is a short course to suit all levels from One Day taster courses to the week-long Summer Schools.

Explore a range of forging techniques with contemporary blacksmith and designer, James Price. Consider design and function as you learn how to manipulate metal using basic hand forging, the power hammer and fire-welding to create a small candlestick or domestic item. Blacksmithing for beginners (NEW 20 - 22 May Weekend £250).

One day silversmithing workshops are an introduction to the basic techniques including raising, planishing, soldering and forging. Progress on to raised pieces which include the making and fitting of handles, spouts and lids. Learn also how to score, bend and stamp metal and make flush and spring joints in box making with gold and silver award-winner at Goldsmiths, John Norgate, (26 May, 30 June or 29 September £110 each workshop Suitable for all).

Express your own creativity working on individual projects ranging from a small bowl or vase to large experimental jewellery. Learn basic techniques or develop your existing skills, creating and finishing forms in sheet metal. Silversmithing - create vessels and sculptural jewellery with award-winning silversmith Abigail Brown (6 - 12 August Summer School £682 Suitable for all).

Experience the complete process of making a three-dimensional object in metal, incorporating enamel. Learn techniques such as cutting, drilling, raising and welding as you develop your ideas through sketches, model making and choosing metals. On the second day we will be joined by Joan Mackarell to make enamel samples using non-traditional techniques to explore colour, texture and pattern. Sculpting in metals with RCA trained, metal sculptor Mike Savage (30 July - 5 August Summer School £764 Suitable for all).

Blacksmith artist, Peter Parkinson, will show you how to create a sculpture from found metal objects assembled with blacksmithing techniques. You will visit a local scrapyard and then learn basic forging and joining processes to make a piece for your house or garden. Sculpture from scrap (11 - 15 September Four Days £479 Suitable for all).

Full time study

For those looking to pursue a career in metalworking West Dean offers opportunities for full time study including a Foundation Degree in Historic Crafts specialising in metalwork, Diplomas and MA Conservation Studies. Visit West Dean College for more information and to browse the digital prospectus.


Treat a friend or loved one with a gift voucher for £10, £25, £50 or £100, which can be used as full or part payment towards a short course. Email [email protected].


If you are new to West Dean you are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of course fees for your first booking (telephone bookings only) 01243 818300.


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 for 2 nights (twin occupancy).


To view the digital brochure or to book a place visit e-mail [email protected] or call 0844 4994408.


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.
  • 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.

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities, please contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ