West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in Autumn

Press Release: Perfect timing to start thinking about learning a new skill for 2020?

Autumn/Winter short course inspiration at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

As we ease into Autumn we need to have something to look forward to and inspire us into the
Winter months. West Dean College of Arts and Conservation's programme of short courses from
October 2019 - March 2020 is now live online, and among the 430 courses on offer are 89 new
ones. Trends this season include the Autumn landscape, re-using and extending the life of materials,
and courses inspired by the earth during with an Earth Matters week of courses in February.

From Basketmaking and textiles to creative writing and sculpture through to jewellery, metalworking, painting, ceramics, photography, gardening and calligraphy, courses are aimed at beginners, intermediate and advanced levels and range from one day to five day courses, either at weekends or weekdays.

A pottery course is perfect for producing unique gifts or items for the home, and in the past year has attracted world-famous chefs to come to West Dean to create one off pieces. Mugs, jugs and slip decorations, for beginners and intermediates, explores the different way to create familiar household objects - whether through throwing or building by hand (February 24-27, £424).

For those who want to create an object for the home - Making a Devon Maund basket - a rugged constructed (nail joinery) basket is available with Dominic Parrette for beginners/ intermediate
(January 31- February 2, 2020 weekend £301) and Stained glass - working colour and light takes place in the Spring with Sasha Ward (March 1-6, £609), while Sculpture from Scrap, which is suitable
for all, encourages participants to create a sculpture from found metal objects assembled with blacksmithing techniques (March 1-5, £552). Linoprinting for beginners explores the markmaking
potential of lino through traditional tools (November 29-December 1, weekend, £275) and among the sculpture course is Figure sculpture in clay (March 27-29, weekend, £306). Woodworking and
Furniture making courses offer the opportunity to Build a cricket table (January 10-13, £381, long weekend) and a Windsor Chair (February 9-14, £744). Within the calendar of one-day courses - Mini pictures in stitches is an introduction to machine embroidery and is suitable for all abilities (March 28, £131).

Among the new courses are several devoted to drawing including two that are suitable for all abilities. Life drawing - form and gesture with Jake Spicer (March 5-8, long weekend £436) and Drawing people - art of the quick sketch with painter and draftsman Andrew Fitchett (March 20-22, weekend £290), while new to the creative writing and publishing courses is Creating fictional characters, which is suitable for all (February 21-23, weekend, £260).

West Dean is known for its award-winning garden and landscape, so there is no surprise that there are courses inspired by the surrounding landscape. Florist and Designer Rachel Siegfried is encouraging participants to use foliage foraged from the gardens to create an Autumnal Wreath in a one-day course on October 17 (£163), and botanical artist Amber Halsall will lead an intermediate course Watercolour - painting texture and detail in nature - looking at how to portray subjects accurately (January 3-5, weekend £260).

Looking forward to the 2020 wedding and horseracing seasons, and the need for a unique fashion item. Millinery flower making - leather and silk flower headpiece will enable participants to make a beautiful couture headpiece (February 20-23, long weekend £391) or Couture millinery with sinamay and silk will offer the opportunity to learn the techniques of blocking, wiring, fabric making and making a structured bow (March 23-26, £406). Elsewhere within the textiles programme, Katy Bevan is a new tutor at the College and she will tutor intermediate and advanced level students in Crochet lace to make necklaces and lace collars (January 31- February 2, weekend £260), while Celia Pym's course encourages us to reuse items, that might have been destined for landfill, with Creative
mending - textile repair (October 13-15, £260).

Continuing the concept of being inspired by the local surroundings - a series of courses are on offer around the theme of Earth Matters during the week of February 16-20. These include new courses such as Papermaking unearthed - artworks informed by landscape with Jane Ponsford, which offers the opportunity to explore the surroundings through papermaking using natural dyes, iron,
clay and chalk. This course is suitable for all (February 16-20, £509), while Jewellery with found
materials encourages students to turn found treasure such as stones, sea-glass, driftwood or beach plastic into statement pieces with sustainable jewellery designer Sarah Drew (February 16-20, £528).
Among the vast range of painting courses, one for intermediate/advanced level painters is Winter
Landscapes: how and why materials and process matter in art. Landscape painter Melanie Rose will teach how to make and use natural materials including chalk gesso to create a work inspired by West
Dean (February 16-20, £528).

Alison Baxter, Head of School of Arts, commented: "The courses are open to everybody (over the
age of 16 years) from the complete beginner to seasoned practitioner, and everyone can learn to
create, craft and grow under the tuition of expert professionals in their fields."

She continues: "For some, a short course can set them on the pathway to further study such as the
part-time Foundation degree, Diploma in Art and Contemporary Craft, or even an MFA - it is never
too late to explore a new career or develop a life-long ambition and these courses are a wonderful
starting point."

"West Dean College is the perfect place to escape to. It is situated in the beautiful surroundings of
the West Sussex countryside and there is the opportunity to stay in historic West Dean House,
home to the College. Edward James, the Surrealist patron and poet, founded the College, ensuring
his beautiful house and estate would support crafts education for future generations."

For full details of each course and to browse the latest digital brochure, please visit

Bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0)1243 818300. Gift vouchers of £10, £25, £50 or
£100 can be used as full or part payment towards a short course.

Notes To Editors

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the 'the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century'.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:

Email [email protected]
Tel 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ