West Dean College and Gardens in Autumn

Press Release: The Art of Autumn - New Short Courses at West Dean College

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"
Pablo Picasso

"When you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul"
American author and poet Alice Walker

More of us are opting to enrich our lives through arts and craft practices, unlocking creativity as well as escaping the pressures of daily life. This is exactly what the new Autumn/Winter short course programme at West Dean College aims to deliver; a way to find a new craft or develop an existing skill, all the while enhancing quality of life.

West Dean College, near Chichester is set against the breathtaking backdrop of the South Downs National Park. The College offers the highest quality of education in creative arts and conservation, from diplomas and degrees awarded by the University of Sussex, to one of the largest ranges of creative short courses available in the UK. Subjects include: painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles, photography, pottery,

Images: Jo Mabbutt, Metallics: Decorative Finishes (Shortp.28)

Image: Akiko Hirai, Dry Kohiki Teapot: Japanese Ceramics

furniture-making, metalwork, sculpture, gardening and more. Traditional craft skills meet the contemporary and experimental with exciting courses led by talented tutors at the forefront of their field.

The Autumn/Winter short course programme, just released, runs from October until the end of March 2018. With 300+ courses on offer, students can choose from one day taster days to three or seven days of study, from beginner to advanced levels. Over 100 new courses and 33 new tutors have been introduced into the programme, along with a range of specially curated themes and events.

Accommodation is available and offers students the chance to truly immerse themselves in the creative, inspirational environment of West Dean College, rich in arts history through the legacy of Edward James, poet and patron of the surrealists. Students have access to the award-winning West Dean Gardens during their stay and can enjoy walks in the 240-acre parkland and arboretum.

The latest brochure features short courses to re-inspire the mind, rejuvenate and reconnect students with creativity. Whether it's learning the Japanese art of ceramics with Kaori Tatebayashi and participating in the Japanese tea ceremony with tea master Chizuko Kimura, tapping into a love of all things metallic with a silversmithing or blacksmithing course, or learning to 'write your family history' with award-winning journalist Joanna Moorhead, enrolling on a short course at West Dean College is the perfect way to plan an escape to the country and enrich your autumn.

The full brochure can be viewed at: Short Course Brochure Or use the easy online course search to skip straight to a preferred subject, tutor or available dates: Course Finder

For more information please visit: https://www.westdean.org.uk/study

Learn alongside expert tutors with a short course this autumn/ winter at West Dean College

With hundreds of short courses to choose from in the new autumn/ winter brochure we have put together a list of some notable highlights…

Books and paper courses:

Japanese style bookbinding with Yo Yamazaki (Brochure p.53)
New for autumn / winter 2017 the course will take place during Japanese Week (3-8 Dec).
Students will learn to make a set of 7 books using authentic methods and tools from Japan.


Drawing trees with fine artist, broadcaster and writer Sarah Simblet (p.13)
Sarah is a teacher at The Ruskin School of Art and Royal Academy and has just released a new book, 'The New Sylva'. This course directly connects to the natural surroundings of West Dean Gardens and will derive inspiration from Edward James' love of trees and his arboretum.

Drawing strategies to develop site-specific art with contemporary artist Mark Anstee MFA (p.10)

Develop a proposal for a site-specific artwork through the process of drawing. Use different forms and approaches to drawing from field study and early concept sketch, to the delivery of final worked-up plans and presentation.

Glass and Mosaics:

Reactive glass jewellery with glass artist Claire Hall (p.16)

Explore the potential of using reactive glass powders, frits, silver leaf inclusions and the new
alchemy glass to create a range of beautiful jewellery. Enjoy and experiment as heat from the kiln brings chemical reactions and surface pattern to life.


Silver stacking rings with Laila Smith (p.20)

Students will create a beautiful stacking silver ring set. Techniques covered include designing, sizing, forming, piercing, texturing and soldering. Looking at repeated motifs, textures and surfaces will inform your finished set of rings.


Blacksmithing - Practical Projects with Alex Smith (p.23)

This course will give the chance to explore a range of forging techniques including bending, twisting, splitting, forging and re-welding. Working with hot metal and fire, students will learn to make a ram's head poker and other practical items, such as a bottle opener and key ring.


Life painting in oils for beginners with figurative painter Zara Drummond (p.30)

Learn fundamental techniques to make a representational oil painting of the figure. Techniques include drawing in paint, essential colours, organising your palette, colours for flesh tones, brushes, mediums, composition, light and shade (chiaroscuro).


Digital photography with internationally published landscape photographer Benjamin Graham (p.33)

Learn to see creatively by identifying the opportunities that light, subjects, patterns, tones and forms present to you as a photographer. Enhance your graphic awareness and grasp key compositional and lighting principles that will stimulate your personal vision in photography. For DSLR users.

Pottery & ceramics:

Throwing and turning for beginners with Jo Taylor (p.36)

Work on your own potter's wheel as you develop your own designs and learn how to work with clay. You are shown key techniques, including how to prepare and finish work.

Sculpting in clay inspired by nature with international ceramicist Kaori Tatebayashi (p.36) Develop and challenge your sculpting skills by experimenting with various forming techniques. You will create a large vessel as a blank canvas to decorate taking inspiration from West Dean Gardens. Explore how to form intricate shapes and expand your skills, gaining a wider range of expression with clay.


Playing with light in woodcut printmaking with Merlyn Chesterman who is currently exhibiting at the Royal Academy (p.39)

Discover how to achieve success with sunlight and shadow, direct light and darkness, to create atmosphere or tell a story. Print techniques include design, cutting, sharpening, inking and editioning from both black and white and multi-colour blocks. Enjoy a journey into tools, papers, opaque and translucent inks, pigments and printing methods, both by hand and with a press.


Storytelling through Automata with Rachel Larkins (p.40)

Consider the potential of automata to tell a story through drawing and making inspired by antique and contemporary moving toys. By reflecting on the use of materials, construction and experiments with simple moving mechanisms, you will develop an idea for a moving sculpture from two-dimensional sketch to three-dimensional realisation.


Sculptural millinery with Sarah Marshall who currently works for John Boyd Hats (p.47)

Realise your ideas for making wildly imaginative head pieces, to create sculptural millinery.You will acquire techniques for hand building structures using different gauges of millinery wire to make dramatic yet lightweight forms, and to shape a variety of materials including straw braid and crin.

Woodworking and furniture making:

Furniture making for beginners - a dovetailed stool with Daniel Pateman (p.55)

Experience key furniture making techniques to make a simple dovetailed stool, a versatile project with a multitude of uses. Essential elements are introduced in a fun engaging way, as you customise the joint layout of your piece, and learn to set up and use tools required in this hands-on approach.


Writing fiction - developing characters and perspective with novelist Isabel Ashdown (p.9)

Great characters are at the heart of great fiction, the most compelling stories contain unforgettable characters we are curious about and believe in. Through guided discussion, exercises around point of view and hands-on writing this course will help you to transform your existing characters and encourage you to unearth a few new ones along the way.

Freelance writing and Writing your family history with Joanna Moorhead, freelance journalist who writes frequently for The Guardian and is a published author (p.9)

Have you ever read a newspaper, magazine or online article and wondered if you could write like that? If so, this inspiring course is for you. Covering how to pitch and write articles for newspapers, magazines and websites, learn how to hone ideas, judge whether a piece is 'right' for an outlet, and techniques for writing for the current newspaper, magazine and online market.

Notes to Editors

• Japanese tea ceremony will take place on Sunday afternoon during themed Japanese week (3-8 Dec, see brochure p.53)

• Kaori Tatebayashi: http://cargocollective.com/kaoriceramics

• Chizuko Kimura: https://www.westdean.org.uk/events/japanese-tea-ceremony

• Joanna Moorhead: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/joannamoorhead

• West Dean College was founded in 1971 by the surrealist patron Edward James, who was recently recognized by BBC Arts as "the greatest patron of art of the early 20th Century".

• 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.

• 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.

For media enquiry's please contact:
Gabriella Pampel or Phoebe Ladenburg
Golden Squared Consulting
[email protected] / [email protected]
+44 (0)20 7439 2822