Press Release: Sneak preview, Short Courses to brighten winter days

The latest brochure features hundreds of creative Short Courses at West Dean College to help banish grey winter days. Make time for creativity even when the weather outside is cold or wet. Draw or paint in the crisp winter air, get your hands messy in the pottery studio or explore new textile techniques. West Dean provides unique opportunities to try your hand at learning a traditional or contemporary creative skill in professionally equipped studios. There are themed weeks, new tutors and courses and lots of one day courses to make something handmade for the Festive Season. Here is a sneak preview of what is on offer from October to March 2017. All courses shown are suitable for beginners.

The 'Three Friends in Winter' is an established subject in Chinese art and surrounded by symbolism. Explore plum blossom, bamboo and pine in the traditional way with Chinese materials and techniques. Chinese painting - 'Three Friends in winter' with traditional brush painter, Maggie Cross (16 - 20 October, four days, £426).

Investigate the structure and form of trees in their skeletal form through a series of short workshops, exploring compositional choices and improving your ability to capture the movement and grace of trees. Drawing winter trees in pencil and charcoal with painter Andrew Fitchett (28 - 30 October, weekend, £228).

Explore a range of metallic media including real metal leaf, powders and transfer foil for a variety of textile, paper and plastic surfaces. Experiment with layering and distressing to produce dramatic starting points for further embellishment. Metallic media for textiles with furniture painter and metallic decorator Jo Mabbutt (28 - 30 November, two days, £225).

Learn a variant of the black and white printmaking technique. Create multiple colours by overprinting to open up entirely new pathways to wood engraving. Colour wood engraving with engraver and blockmaker Chris Daunt (16 - 18 December, weekend, £237).

Learn how to use historic gilding techniques and pure gold leaf to decorate your own unique luscious glass baubles for Christmas. Gold gilded glass baubles with Judy Wetherall (1 December, one day, £139).

Learn simple wire techniques including how to wrap a bead, thread and finish off necklaces and how to mend or remodel bead jewellery. Make jewellery from beads, buttons, wires and threads with jeweller, Sara Withers (24 - 26 February, one day £242).

Construct an elegant but sturdy chair whatever your level of experience. Work with traditional hardwoods and learn to shape legs, back sticks and arm supports, using rotary planes, and shape the seat with 'travishers' and 'spokeshaves' tools to complete your chair. Country chairmaking - a Welsh 'stick' style with Phil Shipley (26 February - 3 March, five days, £551).

Learn the art of verre églomisé and experiment with several techniques including painting on the back glass, laying leaf and burnishing to make beautiful creative pieces. Glass gilding and painting - verre églomisé with Peter Binnington (6 - 9 March, three days, £374).

Themed Weeks

Drawing Week (2 - 7 October). Explore working in three-dimensions, marketing-making monoprints, drawing with five approaches, textiles or wire.

Paper Week 20 - 24 February. From paper sculpture to paper embellishment for jewellery.

Gift Vouchers

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

Special Offer

First time bookings are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of course fees (telephone bookings only) +44 (0)1243 818300.

Accommodation at West Dean

Wake up to beautiful views over the Sussex Downs in the stately splendour of a country mansion. From £102 per person for two nights (twin occupancy).

To browse the short course digital brochure and to book online visit


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.
  • West Dean is committed to providing access to education in the creative arts and offers bursaries to people who cannot afford to study at the college.
  • 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 contact

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


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ