The chance to get hands-on and learn a new skill has to be one of the more original gifts this Father's Day (Sunday 19 June). For a unique gift treat your dad to a beginner's blacksmithing, stone carving or wood carving one day taster course at West Dean College. From the basic techniques to complex processes, with the expert guidance of the college's tutors, students can develop traditional skills. Courses run from one day to a week-long Summer School. The college is set within the stunning South Downs and offers a relaxing and unique atmosphere. B&B accommodation is available and after a day in the workshops and studios, students can relax in the bar or enjoy a walk in the award-winning gardens. The more energetic can stride out on a two and a half mile walk through St. Roche's Arboretum which offers stunning views of the South Downs. The following are all one day or weekend courses.
Explore marquetry techniques using fretsaw and knife cut methods. Simple exercises help you develop the skills using natural, coloured and shaded veneers. Marquetry techniques with contemporary furniture designer and marquetry specialist, Toby Winteringham (17 - 19 June, £240 weekend, beginners/intermediate).
Make a silver box or bowl with John Norgate. Learn basic silversmithing skills and the working properties of silver to make and finish a small bowl or box (2 July, £162, beginners).
Sculpt small studies of the human form exploring the qualities of wax. You will have an option to have one of your small works cast at a bronze foundry. Sculptural sketching - wax working from the figure with sculptor Jon Edgar (25 June, £126, beginners).
Experience the rhythm of working hot steel using fire, hammering and shaping at the anvil to make a small piece of work in the college's forge. The Blacksmith's Craft with metalworker and sculptor, Andrew Smith (2 July, £133, beginners).
Work from direct observation at your own pace on a simple still life as you learn how to structure an oil painting and build up colour. Oil painting - a simple approach with landscape painter landscape painter, Tom Benjamin (2 July, £127, beginners).
Discover the essentials of woodcarving as you carve a simple relief of a fish, fruit or other object in limewood. Woodcarving with woodcarver, sculptor and author, Peter Clothier (3 July, £112, beginners).
Treat your dad to 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].
First time bookings are entitled to a 10% discount on the cost of course fees (telephone bookings only) 01243 818300.
To browse the Short Course digital brochure and to book online visit www.westdean.org.uk.
ACCOMMODATION AT WEST DEAN
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 two nights (twin occupancy).
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