Press Release: Micro to macro, arts and crafts short courses 2017

Explore scale on a creative short course at West Dean. The college offers the opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary arts and crafts in fully-equipped light and airy art studios, fine-metals workshop, forge, pottery, stone-carving room and sculpture courtyard. Whether you start on a smaller scale and work up to bigger projects or jump in and explore bigger ideas you will be guided and inspired by expert tutors who are all practicing professionals with impressive reputations. Experience the unique atmosphere of the college, which is the former home of Edward James, poet and patron of the Surrealist Movement, and rich in art history. Students have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens during their stay and can enjoy walks in the 240-acre parkland and St Roche's Arboretum during breaks in classes.

Learn how to make non-traditional forms with willow and other natural materials on a small scale. Sample different techniques and develop your skills and originality before working on your own individual project. Willow sculpture on a small scale with Mary Butcher, contemporary basketmaker and curator (10 - 12 May, two days, £237, suitable for all).

Make real or surreal jungle flora and fauna for your garden or home using bold copper forms and bright aluminum to explore the sculptural elements of leaves, vines and flowers. Bold metalwork for the garden with metal sculptor, Mike Savage (30 May - 2 June, three days, £389, suitable for all).

Explore the huge creative potential of macro and close up photography, leading to visually arresting images to encourage the view to see the world anew including flowers, insects, intimate landscapes and man-made objects. Learn tips and tricks to perfect your technique and create showstopping pictures. Macro photography with Tracy Hallett (14 - 16 April, weekend £235, suitable for all).

Gain the confidence and skills to throw larger pieces of work in porcelain. Explore the methods of slapping the clay and pounding it out with the fist, throwing the clay up, making a slip and assembling the thrown pieces, before learning about glazes. Throwing large - exploring form in ceramics with ceramicist, Tanya Gomez (12 - 14 May, weekend, £295, intermediate).

Learn about techniques and tools with these easy to carve stones to make a sculpture up to 15cm high, either figurative or abstract. Small carving in alabaster and soapstone with Paula Haughney (7 - 10 July, long weekend, £329, suitable for all).

Visual Arts and Crafts Summer Schools

These popular, separate week-long extended courses, allow you to encounter a broad range of creative insights and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere at West Dean. Book early to ensure your place on a creative break in the beautiful South Downs countryside. Week One (29 July - 4 August), Week Two (5 - 11 August) and Week Three (12 - 18 August).

The College offers over 700 short courses each year from basketweaving to bobbin lacemaking, and sewing to sculpture. To browse the latest digital brochure and to book online visit

Gift vouchers of £10, £25, £50 or £100 can be used as full or part payment towards a short course.

The college offers B&B accommodation from £102 per person for two nights (twin occupancy).


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • The college offers over 700 creative short courses each year, as well as Diploma and Degree programmes in the School of Conservation and School of Creative Arts.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.

Media Contact Information

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

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 811301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ